On Monday, Oct. 18, 2021, the Department of Defense (DoD) released its updated Force Health Protection Guidance, the latest document in the continuing saga of the federal contractor vaccine mandate. This DoD guidance is a revision to an earlier issued document and incorporates the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force Guidance (Task Force Guidance) that was issued on Sept. 24. The DoD guidance applies only to DoD contractor personnel who work in DoD buildings and DoD leased spaces in non-DoD buildings (DoD facilities) and DoD official visitors.
First, some key definitions from the DoD guidance:
- “DoD contractor personnel” are those individuals issued a credential by DoD, who have recurring access to DoD facilities, and are classified for purposes of the guidance as “credentialed recurring access” (e.g., are Common Access Cardholders (CAC)).
- “Official visitors” are non-DoD individuals seeking access, one time or recurring, to perform official DoD business, such as attending a building, but do not have a CAC card.
- “DoD facilities” are DoD buildings and DoD leased spaces in non-DoD buildings in which official DoD business takes place.
Before entering a DoD facility, DoD contractor personnel and official visitors must attest to being fully vaccinated. DoD contractor personnel who are not fully vaccinated because they are not performing under a covered contract that requires vaccination, or who are performing under a covered contract but are not vaccinated due to a legally required accommodation, or who decline to attest to their COVID-19 vaccination status, will be subject to COVID-19 screening testing at least weekly.
DoD contractor personnel who are not vaccinated, or refuse to attest to status, must present the results of a recent (conducted within the past 72 hours) negative COVID-19 test to be granted physical access. If they refuse required screening testing, they will be denied access to DoD facilities.
Additionally, DoD contractor personnel and official visitors will have to complete a DD Form 3150 “Contractor and Visitor Certification of Vaccination” and show it to authorized DoD personnel upon request. If they don’t fill out the form, they can be denied access to DoD facilities.
DoD components will execute the screening testing requirement with onsite COVID-19 self-collection kits or self-tests. If onsite testing isn’t feasible, alternative testing can be performed at home or other locations.
These vaccination and physical access requirements do not apply to personnel receiving ad hoc access to DoD facilities (e.g., delivery personnel, taxi services); to individuals who have access to the grounds of, but not the buildings on, DoD installations (e.g., contract groundskeepers, fuel delivery personnel, household goods transportation personnel); to personnel accessing DoD buildings unrelated to the performance of DoD business (e.g., residential housing); or to personnel accessing DoD facilities to receive a public benefit (e.g., commissary, exchange, public museum, air show, military medical treatment facility, Morale, Welfare, and Recreation resources).
Based on the DoD guidance, contractor employees who work in DoD facilities and do not work on a covered contract, have been granted a medical or religious accommodation, or who decline to attest to their vaccination status, must undergo COVID-19 screening testing at least once per week.
The requirements for covered contractor employees who do not work in a DoD facility have not changed; those employees are still required to be vaccinated or have been granted an accommodation. Thus far, they do not have the option for weekly COVID-19 screening testing in lieu of the vaccine or an accommodation.
This guidance also imposes a new burden on contractors whose employees work in DoD facilities but are not covered by the vaccine mandate because they do not work on or in connection with a covered contract. If the employee works in a DoD facility, they will need to complete the DD Form 3150, and either be fully vaccinated or submit to weekly screening testing.
Taft’s Government Contracts and Employment Law teams will continue to monitor this situation and will provide more information as it develops.
Please visit our COVID-19 Toolkit for all of Taft’s updates on the coronavirus.