COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements


Effective Date: Expiration Date: Chapters:
Aug. 10, 2021 Jan. 24, 2022 2   11   20  


The first cases of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which is a contagious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), came to the world's attention in December 2019. Several months later, the disease had spread worldwide, leading the World Health Organization to declare a pandemic, and the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Mayor of the District of Columbia to declare a public health emergency.

While significant strides have been made to combat the spread COVID-19, new, more contagious variants of the virus pose a significant threat, and vaccinations remain the best method for mitigating the spread of these variants. COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective in protecting persons from COVID-19 and its variants currently circulating in the United States and our region. Vaccines prevent the worst consequences of the disease: hospitalization and death. Vaccines also help protect close contacts of vaccinated persons from contracting the disease. In the District of Columbia, vaccines are readily available and cost-free through walk-up vaccination sites, as well as at pharmacies, clinics, and health care providers across the District. We all have a duty to help curb the threat posed by this disease.  

Effective September 19, 2021, in furtherance of government efficiency and as a component of internal security protocols, employees of the District of Columbia government under the Mayor’s administrative control must be vaccinated against COVID-19. This publication outlines the COVID-19 vaccine requirements and its implementation for current and new employees.   

Vaccination Requirements

The Director of the D.C. Department of Human Resources has established full COVID-19 vaccination as a physical qualification requirement for all jobs under the administrative authority of the Mayor. Accordingly, DCHR will update existing position descriptions with this new requirement.

Current Employees 

Except for those exempted from the vaccination requirement, all employees who currently occupy positions at agencies under the authority of the Mayor, a COVID-19 vaccination is now a qualification requirement, and current employees who are not fully vaccinated by September 19, 2021, will be subject to administrative action, which may include summary suspension and termination, as appropriate.

NOTE: While a person is not considered fully vaccinated under CDC guidelines until 2 weeks after receiving their final dose of a COVID vaccine, the District government will not take administrative action against employees who have received all their vaccination doses before September 19, 2021.
NOTE: For transfers, promotions, or changes to other positions, individuals must meet the requirements in each vacancy announcement for which they apply. For example, assume there is an employee that was hired before August 14, 2021, who is currently unvaccinated and has instead chosen to undergo weekly testing. If this employee applies to a position posted after August 14, 2021, that has a vaccine requirement, the current District employee must satisfy the vaccine requirement or receive an approved exemption. They may not continue testing out in the new position unless they have an approved accommodation.

Future Employees

Full COVID-19 vaccination shall also be a requirement for all new hires appointed to job vacancies posted on or after August 14, 2021. On or after that date, vacancy announcements and offer letters must include the following language:

The Government of the District of Columbia values the safety of our employees, our residents, and our visitors. In support of these values, if you are selected for this job you must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, except when vaccination is not medically advised or violates your sincerely held religious beliefs. If you are invited to join our team, you must submit proof that you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to your initial HR representative, or you must request an exemption from your representative. New employees must either provide proof of vaccination or be granted a medical or religious exemption before working with the Government of the District of Columbia.

Should an agency fill a position without a vacancy announcement, the candidate for employment must supply proof of vaccination to the servicing HR representative.

Proof of Vaccination

Acceptable Proof

Candidates and employees subject to the vaccination requirement must show proof of their vaccination status. Acceptable forms of proof include:

  • A scan or image of a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card, or a copy of an official vaccination record from a government body (if vaccinated outside the United States); or
  • A screenshot of their vaccination status from the DC Health database or other certification from DC Health or other jurisdiction of full vaccination. 
NOTE ABOUT PROVIDING VACCINATION PROOFS: Employees should provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test in PeopleSoft by following the instructions in Attachment 1.

Existing Employees

Employees subject to the vaccination requirement must upload their proof of vaccination to PeopleSoft using the “My COVID-19 Vaccination” tile at Proof of vaccination must be uploaded no later than September 19, 2021.

New Hires

All new hires must present proof they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to reporting for their first day of duty, unless they are exempted from the vaccination requirement (see Exemptions and Mandatory COVID-19 Testing, below). Once onboarded, new employees must also upload their proof of vaccination to PeopleSoft using the “My COVID-19 Vaccination” tile at

Exemptions and Mandatory COVID-19 Testing


Employees and employment candidates may be exempted from the COVID-19 vaccination requirement for medical or religious reasons. To qualify, employees must make an exemption request through their agency’s ADA Coordinator or HR Authority, respectively, and become exempt only when issued an exemption in writing. Candidates requesting these exemptions should coordinate with the servicing HR representative for written approval.

Exemption requests will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis consistent with appropriate procedures. Individuals who request a medical exemption must be able to explain the reason an exemption is needed and may need to provide reasonable documentary proof from the employee’s health care provider. Individuals seeking an accommodation due to sincerely held religious beliefs must make the agency aware of the need for an exemption based on a conflict between the employee’s sincerely held religious beliefs and the vaccination requirement.  

In addition, current employees may elect to test weekly for COVID-19 in lieu of vaccination unless otherwise required by law. New hires must be fully vaccinated before starting work with the District of Columbia government, or must receive a medical or religious exemption, and are ineligible to test in lieu of the COVID-19 vaccination requirement.

NOTE: School-based staff, employees regulated by the D.C. Health, and employees located at facilities regulated by D.C. Health may not opt-out of the vaccination requirement.  

COVID-19 Testing Requirement for Unvaccinated Employees

Every week, unvaccinated employees who are exempted from the vaccination requirement or who elect test in lieu of vaccination, must show proof of an exemption and a negative test result from a COVID-19 test taken within the preceding seven days. The documentation required is as follows:

  • For medical exemptions – Employees granted a medical exemption must indicate their vaccination status in PeopleSoft as “Not vaccinated: I have a medical condition that makes getting the vaccine medically inadvisable” and provide a copy of a negative test result from a COVID-19 test taken within the preceding seven days.
  • For religious exemptions – Employees granted a religious exemption must indicate their vaccination status in PeopleSoft as “Not vaccinated: I cannot receive the vaccine for religious reasons” and provide a copy of a negative test result from a COVID-19 test taken within the preceding seven days.
  • For employees electing to test in lieu of vaccination – Employees who elect weekly testing in lieu of the COVID-19 vaccination must indicate in PeopleSoft their vaccination status “Not vaccinated: I am testing weekly” and provide a copy of a negative test result from a COVID-19 test taken within the preceding seven days.
NOTE: Employees should not upload a positive test result to PeopleSoft if they test positive. Instead, they should notify their supervisor to report the result.

How to Get Tested for COVID-19

Unvaccinated employees can get tested at a number of locations including typically their primary care physician and for free through the District of Columbia “Test Yourself” program. Through the “Test Yourself” program, employees may visit participating locations and obtain and drop off a testing kit in one short visit. To this end, when COVID-19 testing kits are not available at an unvaccinated employee’s agency, the agency shall direct the employee to visit a nearby testing location once a week to undergo COVID-19 testing during the employee’s regular tour of duty. Supervisors should work with their employees to schedule testing times in a manner that has the least operational impact.

NOTE: Notwithstanding DC Health guidance, self-testing employees do not need to quarantine while awaiting their test results and should continue to report to work unless they are experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19.


Agency human resources teams, ADA Coordinators, and any additional staff assigned by the agency head may have routine access to COVID-19 vaccination information stored in PeopleSoft for their agency employees. These teams must verify compliance with this issuance on a weekly basis. Whenever an employee is not in compliance with this issuance, the teams must refer the matter to the appropriate investigative authority assigned by the agency, such as the employee’s immediate supervisor or an agency’s Employee or Labor Relations team.

To the extent consistent with the procedures negotiated in any applicable labor agreement, employees who occupy positions that are subject to the vaccination requirement who do not become fully vaccinated by September 19, 2021, shall be subject to summary discipline, as follows:

  1. First offense – Upon the first instance of failing to become fully vaccinated and reporting full vaccination status through PeopleSoft by September 19, 2021or failing to submit a COVID-19 test result each week if eligible for an exemption an agency shall initiate a suspension of the employee for five days without pay. However, in accordance with District Personnel Manual § 1613.3, agencies shall conduct a resolution conference with the goal of reducing the suspension to a verbal counseling and the employee agreeing to use leave options to become fully vaccinated.
  2. Second offense – If an employee cannot provide evidence of being fully vaccinated following the above five-day suspension, the employee shall be authorized to take appropriate leave (annual leave, compensatory leave, leave without pay), for up to four weeks, for the purpose of complying with the COVID-19 vaccination requirement, or agree to provide a COVID-19 test result each week if eligible for an exemption per the exemption policy above. If an employee declines to exercise their right to take leave, the agency shall suspend the employee for an additional five days.
  3. Third offense – If an employee cannot provide evidence of being fully vaccinated following a second five-day suspension, and either is not eligible for an exemption per the exemption policy above or, if eligible for an exemption, the employee does not provide a weekly COVID-19 test result, the employee shall be afforded the leave option specified for the second offense, above. If the employee declines to exercise their right to take leave, or the four-week period expires without the employee becoming fully vaccinated, the agency shall summarily terminate the employee.

NOTE: Notwithstanding the disciplinary procedure above, agencies may elect to use other disciplinary actions as appropriate. Agencies under the personnel authority of DCHR that have  major operational needs requiring a deviation from the above disciplinary guidelines must submit a justification memo, explaining the operational needs and outlining an alternative enforcement proposal, to DCHR’s Employee Relations team at by August 27, 2021. 

Additional discplinary guidance and templates for agencies can be found in Attachments 4A-4F of this issuance.

**On November 8, 2021, technical corrections have been made on Attachments 4B-4F**

Agencies may also reach out to DCHR’s Employee Relations team for assistance with summary actions. The Employee Relations team may be contacted at

Temporary Suspension of Enforcement

When critical agency operations could be compromised, agency heads may recall unvaccinated employees from a suspension status. Moreover, should operational needs require temporary hiring, an agency should consult with the D.C. Department of Human Resources’ HR Solutions Team through the agency’s assigned DCHR Human Resources Specialist. 

Authorities and Applicability

Chapter 20 of the District Personnel Regulations

COVID-19 vaccinations are a safe and effective measure for minimizing the threat posed by COVID-19. As such, the District government is requiring COVID-19 vaccination as a physical requirement for all positions under the Mayor’s authority. 6-B DCMR § 2004.1 authorizes personnel authorities to establish physical and mental requirements that are necessary to perform a specific job or class of jobs. 

Variance to §§ 2001 and 2004

Pursuant to 6-B DCMR § 104, in the interest of equity, and to protect and promote the efficiency, efficacy and integrity of the District government, the Director of the D.C. Department of Human Resources hereby grants a variance to 6-B DCMR §§ 2001 and 2004 until such time as the personnel regulations may be amended. Specifically, § 2001 is varied to authorize the Director to establish vaccination requirements for uniformed members of the Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department and the Metropolitan Police Department. Additionally, in § 2004, the term “personnel authority,” is replaced with “The Director of the D.C. Department of Human Resources.” Relying on these variances, the provisions of this publication apply to all employees in agencies under the Mayor’s administrative control, including the Child and Family Services Agency, D.C. Public Schools, Department of Behavior Health, Department on Disability Services, Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department, and Metropolitan Police Department. The variances granted by this section shall remain in place until Chapter 20 of the District personnel regulations is amended by the Director with the concurrence of the City Administrator pursuant to Mayor’s Order 2008-92 and D.C. Official Code §§ 1-604.04(a) and 1-620.04(a).

The variances to the safety and health regulations prevent each agency from using resources to create its own independent standards for vaccination requirements and avoids inconsistent practices and uneven enforcement among agencies. The establishment of consistent vaccination requirements will maintain the efficiency of the District government and will help protect the safety and health of both employees and members of the public.


Agencies shall maintain the confidentiality and security of employees’ medical and religious information to the extent required by applicable law. 


The provisions of this issuance apply to all agencies under the administrative control of the Mayor. Independent agencies are strongly encouraged to adopt the above vaccination requirements for their respective workforces. 


The requirements outlined in this publication are authorized pursuant to: 

  1. Physical and Mental Qualification Requirements, 6-B DCMR § 2004
  2. Qualification and Evaluation Standards, 6-B DCMR § 206
  3. Standards and Guides for Classification, 6-B DCMR § 1102
  4. Summary Actions, 6-B DCMR § 1616
  5. Safety and Health, 6-B DCMR § 2000 et seq.
  6. U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, What You Should Know About COVID-19, the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and other EEO Laws (Updated May 28, 2021)
  7. COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement for Adults Regualrly in Schools or Child Care Facilities, and for Student-Athletes, Mayor's Order 2021-109


  1. Attachment 1 - District Employee Vaccination Requirement Reasonable Accommodations for Individuals with Disabilities
  2. Attachment 2 - District Mask Requirement Reasonable Accommodation for Individuals with Disabilities
  3. Attachment 3 - How to Submit Proof of Vaccination and Weekly Test Results
  4. Attachment 4A - Vaccination Policy Discipline Quick Guide
  5. Attachment 4B - Proposed Suspension Notice Template
  6. Attachment 4C - Final Decision Suspension Template
  7. Attachment 4D - Verbal Counseling Template
  8. Attachment 4E - Proposed Separation Template
  9. Attachment 4F - Final Decision Separation Template

Issued by Director Ventris C. Gibson, D.C. Department of Human Resources on Aug. 10, 2021, 2:47 p.m.