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Vaccine mandate on federal workers: what other measures are included?

New York and California have imposed a vaccine mandate on workers, find out what other measures are in place to slow the spread of covid-19.

A Covid-19 testing site stands along a street on July 26, 2021 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.
Spencer PlattAFP

Following hot on the heels of New York City, State Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced a vaccine mandate for all federal staff with the deadline set for Labor day, September 6. California has the same plan but is trying to implement it earlier, the state already has a higher vaccination rate compared to New York but much more workers are covered in its mandate.

The mandates come as President Biden considers a nationwide vaccine mandate for federal workers to combat the spread of covid-19, which is once again spreading across the country.

What states and federal agencies are requiring a vaccination?

States with vaccine mandates

StateCaliforniaNew York City
Number of mandated workers>2,246,000 (includes private healthcare workers)> 300,000
Vaccine deadlineBegins August 9 but facilities have until August 23 to fully complySeptember 6
Other measuresIf not vaccinated then:must be tested every week and wear a mask at work.If not vaccinated then must be tested every week.
Vaccination rate62.4%56.8%

Federal agencies with vaccine mandates

Alongside the two states, the Veteran Affairs Commission said it would require staff to be fully vaccinated to work. The decision will apply to an estimated 115,000 employees with patient-facing jobs in the department.

What will happen if I don't follow the mandate?

Workers who do not follow the rules in the states or agency risk disciplinary action or even losing their job.

California Governor Gavin Newsom said in his statement on Tuesday that, “We are at a point in this pandemic where individuals’ choice to not get vaccinated is now impacting the rest of us in a profound, devastating and deadly way."

“You don’t have a choice to go out and drink and drive and put everybody else’s lives at risk. That’s the equivalent of this moment with the deadliness & efficiency of the Delta variant virus.”

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Why are restrictions returning?

In the last week covid-19 infections have risen by 47% in the US, primarily driven by the rise of the Delta variant. With less than half of the US population being fully vaccinated, according to CDC data, the CDC is warning of a "pandemic of the unvaccinated." Double vaccinated people can still catch the virus, but the risk of serious illness is extremely low. 97% of hospitalizations with covid-19 are people who are unvaccinated.


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