Nearly 16,000 civilian Alaskans who are employed by the federal government are now being ordered to attest that they have submitted to an experimental COVID shot, and mandates for military personnel may be forthcoming.
According to new rules announced on July 29 by President Joe Biden, federal employees who decline the COVID jab will be “required to wear a mask on the job no matter their geographic location, physically distance from all other employees and visitors, comply with a weekly or twice weekly screening testing requirement, and be subject to restrictions on official travel.”
These rules apply to more than 4 million federal employees, including nearly 16,000 in Alaska. Additionally, the rules will apply to onsite contractors.
“President Biden is directing his team to take steps to apply similar standards to all federal contractors,” a fact sheet from the White House states. “The Administration will encourage employers across the private sector to follow this strong model.”
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Biden also announced that he is directing the Department of Defense to look into how and when they will add COVID-19 injections to the list of required shots for members of the military. According to the Defense Manpower Data Center, as of March 2021 Alaska had more than 20,000 active duty soldiers and another 4,700 in the National Guard and Reserve.
Earlier this week, the Department of Veterans Affairs imposed a mandate requiring their health care providers and personnel to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Biden’s announcement is the latest in a series of moves by entities that are threatened or coercing Alaska employees who decline the experimental COVID injection. In May, the tribally owned Norton Sound Health Corporation put 700 employees on notice that they are required to submit to a COVID shot as a condition of employment. Similarly, employees of the Bering Straits Native Corporation, including those who work for its many subsidiary companies across Alaska, must get a COVID injection by Aug. 1. The Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium has ordered its employees to be “fully vaccinated” by Oct. 15.