Press Releases

Beyer Seeks Federal Agency Guidance On Coronavirus Vaccinations

Today Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) wrote National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, and U.S. Office of Personnel Management Acting Director Michael Rigas, urging them to release plans and guidance regarding COVID-19 vaccine distribution for federal employees. Beyer serves on the House Committee on Ways and Means, which has partial jurisdiction over health care.

Beyer wrote:

“After weeks of no substantive response to my staff’s inquiry, I write to request any and all COVID-19 vaccine distribution plans or guidance for federal employees. In the interim, we have learned through reporting that some agencies have begun vaccinating their employees and have developed their own plans or guidance on vaccine distribution.

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“Without this notification, States and localities will not know which federal employees need to be covered under their distribution plans rather than under the federal distribution plan. It is imperative that States and localities be able to properly identify the members in their community to whom they will be responsible for administering vaccines.”

The letter specifically requested that vaccine guidelines be shared for each agency outlining whether federal employees can expect their employing agency to administer their vaccine, what will be required to access it, and the process for communication with state and local public health departments for vaccine qualification. Beyer yesterday urged CDC Director Robert Redfield to improve transparency and data sharing amid the national effort to distribute and administer coronavirus vaccines. Beyer’s letters were sent in response to ongoing confusion over reduced and delayed vaccine shipments to states, and amid a troubling absence of communication to Congress and federal employees regarding vaccine distribution.

A signed copy of Beyer’s letter is available here, and text follows below.

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Dear National Security Advisor O’Brien, Secretary Azar, and Acting Director Rigas:

After weeks of no substantive response to my staff’s inquiry, I write to request any and all COVID-19 vaccine distribution plans or guidance for federal employees. In the interim, we have learned through reporting that some agencies have begun vaccinating their employees and have developed their own plans or guidance on vaccine distribution.[1]

Federal employees need to know the vaccine guidelines for their agency, if they can expect their employing agency to administer their vaccine and what is expected to access it. If not, it needs to be communicated to their corresponding State and local public health department if they qualify as frontline, as an essential worker, and that they make plans to get vaccinated through their healthcare provider.

Without this notification, States and localities will not know which federal employees need to be covered under their distribution plans rather than under the federal distribution plan. It is imperative that States and localities be able to properly identify the members in their community to whom they will be responsible for administering vaccines.

I request your expediency on this issue given the urgency of vaccine distribution around the country. Please respond with the Agencies expecting to administer their own vaccines, the status of the guidelines of those agencies, the expectations of agencies not administering their own vaccines, and please indicate what is being done to notify States and local public health departments for employees not eligible for an agency administered vaccine, and the number of employees expected to covered through their employer no later than Wednesday, December 30th, 2020. 


Sincerely,



[1] Ogrysko, Nicole. “State Department, VA Detail Initial COVID-19 Vaccination Plans for Employees.” Federal News Network, 16 Dec. 2020, federalnewsnetwork.com/workforce/2020/12/state-department-va-detail-initial-covid-19-vaccination-plans-for-employees/.