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On Oct. 21, the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force posted new Vaccination and Safety Protocols frequently asked questions for federal contractors, whose covered employees must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 by Dec. 8 unless the contractor is legally required to provide an accommodation for medical or religious reasons.

Several new FAQs were posted, including:

Q: If a covered contractor employee requests an accommodation, and that accommodation is denied by the covered contractor, how long should the contractor employee be afforded to be fully vaccinated?

A: Covered contractors should establish a timeline for a covered contractor employee whose request for an accommodation is denied to promptly become fully vaccinated.

Q: Can a covered contractor grant a covered contractor employee an extension to the deadline for vaccination due to a documented medical necessity even if the contractor employee does not meet the legal definition of “disability” to be entitled to an accommodation?

A: Even in cases where the covered contractor employee does not meet the legal definition of “disability” to be entitled to an accommodation under the Rehabilitation Act, in some limited circumstances a covered contractor may grant the contractor employee an extension to a vaccination deadline based upon other medical considerations. For example, as explained in a separate FAQ, the CDC recommends delaying COVID-19 vaccination for at least 90 days after receiving monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma for COVID-19 treatment. Covered contractors that receive documented medical reasons that may not qualify as a disability but that necessitate a delay in vaccination can grant a covered contractor employee an extension, but covered contractors should specify, consistent with the nature of the medical necessity, by what date the contractor employee must be fully vaccinated.

Covered contractors should take note that an individual’s medical need should be considered on a case-by-case basis, including any medical evaluation that addresses the individual’s particular circumstance.

Q: What medical conditions does the CDC consider a contraindication to vaccination with COVID-19 vaccines?

A: The CDC considers a history of the following medical conditions to be contraindications to vaccination with COVID-19 vaccines:

  • Severe allergic reaction (e.g., anaphylaxis) after a previous dose or to a component of the COVID-19 vaccine; and
  • Immediate allergic reaction of any severity to a previous dose or known (diagnosed) allergy to a component of the COVID-19 vaccine.

If an individual is allergic to a component of one or more COVID-19 vaccines, that individual may not be allergic to components in all COVID-19 vaccines.

The other new FAQs can be found on the Safer Federal Workforce website.