Fedweek

Concerns are continuing about the pace of vaccinations against the Coronavirus of federal employees in high-priority occupations even as the nationwide numbers have climbed in recent weeks.

Accountings by state governments, which are largely overseeing the distribution, do not specify how many federal employees are in the priority level currently receiving inoculations nor how many have received them.

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About 10 percent of nearly 300,000 federal and contractor employees in the capital region, for example have been identified as “as critical personnel to ensuring the continuity of national societal functions,” the governors of Maryland and Virginia and the mayor of the District of Columbia have said in a joint letter. But they added that their jurisdictions “simply do not have the resources available to support these priority vaccinations, due to the additional burden on local resources that this mission would require—especially when considering the amount of vaccine each state receives.”

They asked HHS and FEMA to make a direct allocation of vaccines for those employees, in addition to the regular amounts for their jurisdictions, with a federally operated vaccination site to distribute them.

Figures from federal agencies that have received direct allocations also are incomplete. For example, CDC data show that the Bureau of Prisons has administered both needed doses to some 17,000 persons and the initial dose to another 13,000, but that does not break out how many of those have gone to its employees vs. prisoners. Similarly, DoD has reported administering both doses to some 180,000 and the initial dose to some 560,000 but those figures include military personnel and certain other categories along with civilian employees.

The VA in contrast says it has given both doses to 209,000 its employees and the initial dose to nearly 50,000 more, along with veterans in high-risk categories.

DoD, VA and the Postal Service each report more than 100 deaths of employees, and cumulative cases above 45,000 among DoD civilians, 17,000 at VA and 14,000 at USPS.

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2021 Federal Employees Handbook