On Monday, the Biden administration announced that 90 percent of federal workers have received at least one vaccine shot for protection against coronavirus, in line with vaccination requirements for federal workers that the president announced in September.
Overall, 95 percent of federal workers are in compliance with rules Biden mandated two months ago, which said that workers had to either get vaccinated or obtain an approved exemption. Monday was the deadline for workers to meet those conditions.
“As the progress across the Federal government has shown, these requirements work, and we hope that our implementation can serve as an example for other businesses of every size to move forward with similar measures that will protect their workforce, protect their customers and protect our communities,” a senior administration official said.
The remaining 5 percent of federal workers, who haven’t followed the rules imposed by the White House, will have to begin a “counseling” process. If this process doesn’t result in an approved exemption or the worker agreeing to get vaccinated with one of the three approved COVID-19 vaccines, it could mean they lose their job.
But although those workers face the possibility of being fired, the administration said it was confident that government services wouldn’t be interrupted as a result. Indeed, the 95 percent figure of workers in compliance with the rule is higher than what some had anticipated.
It’s also similar to what’s being seen in the private sector, among companies that have imposed their own vaccination rules. According to a survey conducted by Kaiser Family Foundation in October, only 5 percent of unvaccinated workers said they have quit their jobs due to a vaccine mandate from their company. That number represents just 1 percent of the entire workforce.
That same poll asked unvaccinated workers whether they’d quit over coronavirus vaccine rules. About 37 percent of those respondents said they would, accounting for just 5 percent of workers in the U.S. overall.
That’s a significantly smaller proportion of workers than what some surveys conducted this summer predicted. A study from Qualtrics back in August, for example, suggested that as many as 44 percent of all workers would consider quitting their jobs if the vaccine was mandated by their employers.
Right now, 80 percent of all U.S. residents 12 years of age and older have received at least one vaccine dose, while 69 percent are fully vaccinated. But many experts believe that to effectively combat coronavirus, vaccination rates among the entire population (including those under age 12) need to be much higher, between 80 and 90 percent.