A message from the Adjutant General: Vaccination Timeline Update
As I mentioned in a previous email, one thing is clear: every employee of the Military Department is mandated to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of employment.
What’s not as clear is the deadline to get it done.
For our state employees, yet another reminder – you have until 18 Oct. to be fully vaccinated unless you’ve received a medical or religious accommodation. Thank you to those who have already verified their vaccination status with our state HR team. If you haven’t been approved for an exemption or started the vaccination process yet, you’d need to receive the J&J vaccine no later than 4 Oct. to be in compliance.
The federal side isn’t quite as easy:
- Under the President’s executive order, all federal civilians must be fully vaccinated by 22 Nov. This includes those in our agency who are federal contractors and Title 5 employees. Our Federal HRO is developing a process now to verify vaccination status and will provide additional details soon.
- The Air National Guard is requiring its Drill Status Guardsmen and full-time members to be fully vaccinated by 2 Dec.
- Our Army National Guard has been told that all units must be fully vaccinated by the end of next June. However, we are still waiting to receive more Guard specific implementation instructions from NGB that may actually shorten the length of time that we have to complete vaccinations.
- What is still unknown is which deadline applies to our dual-status technicians. We have an inquiry to NGB to confirm whether federal technicians fall under the President’s EO – which would require full vaccination by 22 Nov.; or if they fall under the guidance given to the Air and Army Guard. We hope to have an answer soon.
With all of this said – if you want to stay with our organization, you will need to be vaccinated. While our medical units will provide opportunities for our Guard personnel to receive the FDA approved Pfizer vaccine, you’re welcome to receive the vaccine of your choice from a local pharmacy or private medical provider. And nothing is stopping you from starting this process now. In fact, if you haven’t already, I encourage you to take care of this requirement as soon as possible, no matter your deadline. All three vaccines are now widely available and free of charge. Avoid the rush and get vaccinated NOW!
Finally, I’ve heard some ask, “If those who are vaccinated can still contract and spread COVID-19, why are we forcing people to get the vaccine?” The attached graphic answers that question with straight-forward data. From the very beginning, the restrictions put in place were always to protect our hospitals and our health care system. Our hospitals are now full of unvaccinated COVID patients – so much so, some hospitals in our state are having to cancel needed treatments and surgeries for emergencies other than COVID. The daily death rate among patients of all ages continues to climb and our health care providers have been pushed to their limit. While a small percentage of “break-through” cases are occurring, those who are vaccinated are far, far less likely to experience severe symptoms and end up in the hospital. This ensures our medical providers can continue to treat your friends and loved ones who need care for something other than COVID-19.
As always, I appreciate your patience and flexibility.
Bret D. Daugherty
The Adjutant General