This memorandum provides updated DoD COVID guidance for implementing additional force health protection and workplace safety measures directed by the White House Safer Federal Workforce Task Force to reduce transmission of the virus that causes coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
DoD civilian employees are now required to be fully vaccinated by November 22, 2021, subject to exemptions as required by law. For purposes of this guidance, “DoD civilian employee,” includes foreign nationals employed by DoD outside the United States, to the maximum extent possible while respecting host nation agreements and laws. It also includes DoD civilian employees who are engaged in full-time telework and remote work. Additional information about the requirements for DoD civilian employees can be found below.
1. DoD COVID Guidance: Vaccination Requirement
DoD civilian employees who are not currently fully vaccinated must meet the following deadlines, if using vaccines that are fully licensed or authorized for emergency use by the FDA, in order to be fully vaccinated by November 22, 2021:
- October 11: first dose deadline (if receiving the Moderna vaccine);
- October 18: first dose deadline (if receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech/COMIRNATY vaccine);
- November 8: second dose deadline (if receiving the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech/COMIRNATY vaccines);
- November 8: second dose deadline (if receiving the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine); and
- If DoD civilian employees use an authorized vaccine other than those listed above, they are responsible for being fully vaccinated by November 22, 2021.
DoD civilian employees who are not fully vaccinated must comply with all DoD requirements for individuals who are not fully vaccinated, including those requirements related to masking, physical distancing, and travel. Regular COVID-19 testing is not required prior to November 22, 2021. After November 22, 2021, weekly COVID-19 testing is required for those DoD civilian employees who are not fully vaccinated, including those who have medical or religious exemptions. DoD civilian employees who telework or work remotely on a full-time basis are not subject to weekly testing, but must provide a negative test result from a test performed within the prior 72 hours for entry into a DoD facility.
DoD civilian employees are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at any DoD vaccination site, including military treatment facilities. they may also opt to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at locations other than DoD vaccination sites, such as retail stores, private medical practices, and/or local and State public health department sites.
New DoD civilian employees must be fully vaccinated by their entry on duty (start) date or November 22, 2021, whichever is later.
- The DoD or Office of Secretary of Defense (OSD) Component head may approve temporary exemptions in writing for up to 60 days after a DoD civilian employee’s start date for urgent, mission-critical hiring needs in circumstances in which a DoD civilian employee could not have been fully vaccinated between the time the job opportunity announcement closes and the DoD civilian employee’s start date. This authority may be delegated in writing to the DoD or OSD Component head’s Principal Deputy (or equivalent) but no lower.
- DoD Components must address the COVID-19 vaccination requirement in job opportunity announcements and tentative and final offer letters. For hiring actions currently under way, DoD Components must issue revised tentative and final offer letters.
DoD civilian employees are authorized official duty time to receive vaccination doses. For employees who are unable to receive a COVID-19 vaccination within their duty hours, regular overtime rules are applicable.
DoD civilian employees are authorized administrative leave for purposes of taking a family member to get a vaccination and to recover from vaccination. Employees who experience an adverse reaction to a COVID-19 vaccination should be granted no more than 2 workdays of administrative leave for recovery associated with a single COVID-19 vaccination dose. DoD civilian employees should use the time and attendance code for “physical fitness” to record administrative leave for COVID-19 vaccination recovery time that prevents the employee from working or taking a family member to be vaccinated for COVID-19. The type hour code is “LN” and the environmental/hazard/other code is “PF.” Non-appropriated fund employers should code administrative leave related to COVID-19 in a way that can be easily reported.
2. DoD COVID Guidance: Verification of Vaccination
DoD civilian employees who have received a dose of a one-dose vaccine, or both doses of a two-dose vaccine, must provide proof of vaccination to their supervisors. For purposes of verification requirement, “supervisor” includes authorized human resources officials. Proof of vaccination may be submitted in hard copy or in an electronic format, and the proof may be a photocopy or a photograph of the vaccination record, if it legibly displays the data points to be verified by supervisors. DoD civilian employees who are not fully vaccinated must provide proof of vaccination to their supervisors upon receipt of each required dose. Acceptable proof includes:
- A copy of the record of immunization from a health care provider or pharmacy;
- A copy of the COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card (CDC Form MLS-319813_r, published on September 3, 2020);
- A copy of medical records documenting the vaccination;
- A copy of immunization records from a public health or State immunization information system; or
- A copy of any other official documentation containing the data points required to be verified by the supervisor.
In addition to providing proof of vaccination to their supervisors, DoD civilian employees will also complete Section A of DD Form 3175 (Attachment 3). DoD civilian employees with access to milConnect will complete the DD Form 3175 via milConnect; otherwise use of a hard copy is acceptable. DoD civilian employees using a hard copy will provide the hard copy to their supervisor. DoD civilian employees are required to complete the DD Form 3175 even if they already completed the DD Form 3150 (Attachment 4).
Upon receiving proof of vaccination, a DoD civilian employee’s supervisor will verify that the information provided contains the following data points.
- Type of vaccine administered
- Number of doses received
- Date(s) of administration; and
- Name of the health care professional(s) or clinic site(s) administering the vaccine(s).
In addition to verifying that a DoD civilian employee’s proof of vaccination includes the required data points, supervisor also will complete Section B of DD Form 3175 beginning on or about October 21, 2021 (or when activation of the form is completed for supervisor use). Supervisors with access to milConnect will complete the DD Form 3175 via milConnect using the DoD civilian comployee’s Employee Identification Number; otherwise use of a hard copy is acceptable.
Supervisors will retain DoD civilian employees’ proof of vaccination in accordance with their DoD Component’s record-keeping requirements for DoD civilian employee medical records and the privacy requirements contained in Attachment 7.
DoD civilian employees may not be required to use their own personal equipment for the purpose of submitting proof of vaccination of DD Form 3175. DoD civilian employees who submit proof of vaccination or the DD form 3175 in an electronic format are encouraged to use encrypted email or password protected files with DoD SAFE file transfer.
3. DoD COVID Guidance: Enforcement of DoD Civilian Employee COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement
DoD civilian employees who refuse to be vaccinated, or to provide proof of vaccination, are subject to disciplinary measures, up to and including removal from Federal service, unless the DoD civilian employee has received an exemption or the DoD civilian employee’s timely request for an exemption is pending a decision. DoD Components should generally follow the recommended guidelines, subject to any applicable Component policy and collective bargaining agreements.
Progressive enforcement actions include, but are not limited, to:
- A 5-day period of counseling and education;
- A short suspension without pay, of 14 days or less, with an appropriate notice period. Senior Executive Service members may only be suspended for more than 14 days;
- Removal from Federal service for failing to follow a direct order.
During notice periods, DoD civilian employees generally should not be placed on administrative leave. DoD Components should require DoD civilian employees to continue to telework or report to the worksite and follow all mitigation measures applicable to unvaccinated DoD civilian employees when reporting to the worksite.
DoD Components will designate officials, at the appropriate organizational level, to handle the disciplinary process to ensure consistent application disciplinary measures. Such officials will decide each case with due regard to the facts and circumstance of that case. DoD Components may begin enforcement action as soon as November 22, 2021, for DoD civilian employees who are not fully vaccinated and who do not have an exemption request approved or pending decision.
Supervisors should contact their servicing human resources and legal offices to discuss options available to address individual situations regarding enforcement of this requirement.
DoD Components are encouraged to identify an occupational health office, medical office, or other resource with whom a DoD civilian employee may consult during period of counseling and education.
4. DoD COVID Guidance: Exemptions to DoD Civilian Employee COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement
DoD civilian employees may request an exemption on the basis of a medical condition or circumstance or a sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance. Exemptions will be granted in limited circumstances and only where legally required Further guidance on processing exemptions will be forthcoming from the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. In the meantime, DoD Components should take no action on any exemption requests received from DoD civilian employees.