About 90 per cent of US federal employees have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 ahead of the deadline later tonight for President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate.
Jeff Zients, the White House’s coronavirus response co-ordinator, said on Monday afternoon the federal government had achieved 95 per cent compliance with the requirement and that 90 per cent of the 3.5m federal workers around the country were already vaccinated.
In the White House, 99 per cent of employees in the executive office of the president had been vaccinated, Zients revealed. Levels of compliance in the Internal Revenue Service, FBI and Customs and Border Protection had hit 98 per cent, 99 per cent and “nearly 98 per cent” respectively.
Biden announced in September that all direct federal employees would have to be vaccinated against Covid-19, and would not be given an option to avoid the requirement by submitting to regular testing or wearing a mask. The deadline was set for the night of November 22, but Zients stressed it was “not a cliff, it’s not an end point” and that unsure workers would be provided counselling or education in an effort to get them over the line.
The federal government’s figures accompanied a plea from top US health officials on Monday for eligible Americans to get vaccinated, or have their booster shots, for Covid-19 against the backdrop of rising new cases heading into the start of the holiday season.
About 92,000 Americans have tested positive for Covid-19 each day over the past week, an increase of 18 per cent over the past week, Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. A month ago, the seven-day average was about 72,500 and close to a three-month low.
Although more than 59 per cent of the US population is fully vaccinated, Walensky said 47m eligible adults and 12m eligible teenagers remain unvaccinated.
About 36m booster shots have been administered, according to the latest CDC data, and about 3m people received their additional doses across Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Zients said.