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Report: Few vaccine loopholes for contractors


The White House, facing continuing widespread COVID infection and loss of life in the U.S., issued an executive order (EO) Sept. 9, commanding all federal agencies to require employees without legitimate exemptions to get vaccinated against the virus. The deadline for that order remains set for Nov. 22. 

On that same date, a parallel EO was issued covering federal contractors—pressing the Federal Workforce Task Force on COVID to issue guidelines in effect commanding private-sector companies and their employees doing business with the government to get vaccinated, too. The deadline for compliance—for contractors to be vaccinated—has been set at Dec. 8. 

Yet, with considerable anti-vaccination sentiment (notably accompanied by higher rates of COVID mortality) evident in some areas of the country—for example, the South and Midwest—there is continuing pushback against the orders. Resistance remains among some opponents of the contractor order, as ably outlined in a new report in Air Force magazine entitled Contractor employees who object to vaccines may not get much backup.

The report briefly explores mandates issued by such large contractors as Boeing, Honeywell, Lockheed Martin and others. One legal angle leveraged by opponents of these mandates, the report notes, has been to cite local and state laws and orders banning vaccination mandates. 

In response, the Department of Defense and other federal entities are relying on legal strategies emphasizing that the federal government and its laws supersede the authority of state and local codes. 

In addition to the legal battle shaping up, the report mentions some, so far limited, demonstrations against the requirement for vaccination by private-sector employees working on government contracts. 

2021 Digital Almanac

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