covid virus thermometer (kostasgr/Shutterstock.com)

Feds who lie about vaccination or avoid testing could face discipline

Federal agencies will be in charge setting up systems to test unvaccinated feds and onsite contractors either weekly or twice weekly, as well as covering the cost of testing under a recently announced policy for the federal workforce, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Thursday.

Tests will be paid for with existing agency funds, Psaki said.

“Different agencies are going to be accounting for it different ways, but I certainly think it's going to be covered by existing funds and existing budgets of each agency. But it's not one federal pot,” Psaki told reporters when asked for a cost estimate for this testing.

White House COVID-19 Response coordinator Jeff Zients told reporters at an Aug. 2 COVID-19 briefing that more stringent requirements could be coming for more feds.

The timeline for the rollout of the new policies still is not clear. An Office and Management and Budget official speaking on background told FCW that more guidance more guidance will be out from the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force soon.

Additionally, the official confirmed reporting in Politico's Pulse newsletter that federal employees who don't comply with the new protocols for vaccination and testing released by the White House last week will be subject to discipline.

The new requirements instruct federal employees to sign an attestation confirming their vaccination status. Anyone who isn’t vaccinated, or doesn’t provide their status, will have to follow protocols for masking and regular testing.

Lying about their status or not following testing requirements can result in discipline for feds, the OMB official said and noted that putting false statements on the form could cause a fed to lose their position.

"It's a federal crime to provide false information to the government in this manner," the official said.

Unions have been pushing to be involved in the policy’s implementation since it was announced.

In a July 29 statement, American Federation of Government Employees national president Everett Kelley said that the union expects that the “the particulars of any changes to working conditions, including those related to COVID-19 vaccines and associated protocols, be properly negotiated with our bargaining units prior to implementation.”

Legal experts have also already raised questions about how the new requirements could complicate labor-management relations by violating existing collective bargaining agreements.

The OMB official didn’t rule out post-implementation bargaining.

"Bargaining on a post-implementation basis may be necessary to protect the health and safety of employees currently required to report to federal workplaces," the official said. "Timely implementation of the model safety principles and CDC guidelines is essential."

However, agencies should communicate with their unions "as soon as possible" and comply with any collective bargaining obligations while implementing their workplace safety plans “consistent with President Biden’s policy to support collective bargaining,” the official said.

Rollout of the new policies, and how unions are involved, could also differ depending on the agency.

"Given varied circumstances, agencies will make determinations regarding how best to meet its collective bargaining obligations,” the official said.

Already, the Department of Veterans Affairs issued a vaccination mandate for all Title 38 employees involved in patient care days before the White House rolled out the governmentwide policy. That policy differs from the White House’s in that it mandates vaccines within eight weeks of its announcement.

"We will be looking across the federal government in other areas that could require these types of mandates, if you will, for vaccination," Zients said. "We will continue to look across the federal government at other areas where requiring vaccines, everyone be vaccinated, may make sense, particularly in the healthcare setting."

This article appeared previously on FCW, a FederalSoup partner site.

Reader comments

Thu, Aug 19, 2021

James Scarborough, you are a fool, plain and simple.

Sat, Aug 14, 2021 WakeUpCall

Many are fine after receiving the jab, but not everyone. I personally know people who have suffered life threatening blood clots, mysterious severe illness, and even death shortly following the jab. Following two of the deaths, no autopsy was allowed (due to COVID protocols). The “vaccinate everyone” crowd needs to examine the VAERS reports (entered by care providers). This is the first mRNA vaccine to be fielded on a large scale basis, it is authorized as an “investigational vaccine” (FDA’s words) according to the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) - not full FDA approval. Read the EUA statement, risk of death or lifelong damage are possible side effects, and the SEC filings for the Pfizer and Moderna offerings identify this drug class as “gene therapy”(FDA’s classification). Also, these filings go on to state that the safety and efficacy of the vaccines is currently unknown, and more study is required (despite the tired “safe and effective” messaging). The number of reports in VAERS and from European counterparts show the COVID vaccines are more dangerous than the swine flu vaccines, which were discontinued due to side effects. Next they want to inject our children with it, despite documented occurrence of myocarditis, pericarditis, and even death (exceptionally high instances for a pediatric vaccine). These didn’t undergo the minimum 4 years of longitudinal study for side effects that the FDA requires for other vaccines. It’s irrelevant how many people have been injected as there’s no substitute for time and no way of knowing future side effects. The CDC recently announced that infected vaccinated individuals carry and transmit as much viral load as infected unvaccinated people (vaccine can’t stop the spread). The Mayo Clinic recently released a study (pre-print) showing Pfizer was only 41% effective against the Delta variant last month, well below the minimum 50% by WHO. Everyone will soon need boosters as effectiveness wanes, so the messaging will go from “get vaccinated” to “get on the vaccination schedule” (human pin cushions!) The WHO estimates that it would take a minimum of 5 years to vaccinate the entire population of the world. With unrestricted worldwide travel and porous borders, COVID can’t end in the USA until it ends everywhere. Even “herd immunity” cannot be achieved when the vaccinated can still transmit the virus. Do your own research, Google what I mentioned above, it’s all true. There’s a reason that those with PhDs make up the majority of Americans opposed to these new investigational vaccines, despite the media’s attempts to paint vaccine skeptics as uneducated anti-vaccine conspiracy theorists. Given all of the above and low risk of death from COVID, vaccine mandates are not defensible. Follow the money, the pharmaceutical companies involved are raking in billions and posting record profits.

Thu, Aug 12, 2021 John Columbus, Ohio

No, most people, including my wife and I had virtually 0 side effects (sore arm for a day). At my age, hospitalization would have been easily possible. Sorry, but the fools are those afraid of a little jab. Ask those who say as they are dying, "I wish I had gotten the damn vaccine." Their family wishes they had too. And most of the 615000 who have died from it all but certainly wish they had the opportunity to have the "jab" instead. Check a credible news source to see why you should get the jab. It has nothing to do with democratic or republican but rather public health.

Mon, Aug 9, 2021 James Scarborough

Big brother is here! The jab is almost as bad as getting the virus. I've had it, so why would i risk getting the jab with all its possible adverse side effects? We're being taken for fools.

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