Vaccination Requirements Are Coming for Federal Contractors Beginning October 2021

Read the update to this story: Federal Contractors' Covid-19 Vaccination Requirements Updated to January 2022


The White House issued a Sept. 9 Executive Order on Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors, which will require most contractors to ensure their workforce is vaccinated against Covid-19. Federal contractors should start preparing to ensure compliance with these new requirements by October 2021. 

While this is a quickly developing area, what is known so far about the vaccination requirement is outlined below.

  • The Safer Federal Workforce Task Force has been mandated to publish new safety guidance and protocols for contractors and subcontracts by Sept. 24.
  • This safety guidance will include a Covid-19 vaccination mandate for federal contractors with limited religious and medical exemptions.
  • The Covid-19 federal contractor vaccination requirement will apply to:
    • Most new federal contracts and new subcontracts awarded or issued on or after October 15, 2021.
    • Most existing federal contracts which are extended, renewed, or have option periods exercised on or after October 15, 2021.
    • Other existing federal contracts and contract-like agreements that are amended by the issuing agency.
  • The Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council will amend the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) to include a clause mandating compliance with the Safe Federal Workforce Task Force guidance for all future federal procurement solicitations and contracts.
  • Once incorporated as a contract clause, non-compliance with the vaccination requirement could be deemed a breach of contract and grounds for termination.

FH+H’s Government Contracting team will continue to analyze new developments regarding the Federal Contractor Vaccination Requirement Executive Order, as well as other Covid-19 requirements for federal contractors. Our attorneys can assist clients in updating all related documents.

Contact us for more information.

Note: The information contained on this page does not constitute legal advice, and reading the information does not automatically start an attorney-client relationship. The details are meant to serve as general information, and are not comprehensive of all legal requirements or situations.


About the Authors

Emily Spence is an associate with FH+H who primarily focuses her practice on government contracts, corporate law, and corporate formation. Ms. Spence’s prior experience includes work as a government contractor and clerking with the Department of Justice.

Lucinda (Lucy) Hendrix is a summer associate at FH+H who is a rising 3L at George Washington University Law School. She has experience clerking and interning in the government sector.

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