If somebody is not willing to do what's necessary to protect their own health and the health of their unit, that actually calls into question their ability to effectively do the job. — Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo.
If somebody is not willing to do what's necessary to protect their own health and the health of their unit, that actually calls into question their ability to effectively do the job. — Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo.

We need to be using every tool at our disposal to save lives and protect mission readiness. — Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee
We need to be using every tool at our disposal to save lives and protect mission readiness. — Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee

Getting control over this pandemic in the United States requires getting to a much higher level of vaccine coverage. It's a matter of national security. — Steve Morrison, director of the Global Health Policy Center at the Washington-based Center for Strategic & International Studies
Getting control over this pandemic in the United States requires getting to a much higher level of vaccine coverage. It's a matter of national security. — Steve Morrison, director of the Global Health Policy Center at the Washington-based Center for Strategic & International Studies

Vaccine Refusals in Intelligence Agencies Raise GOP Concerns
While many people will likely still get vaccinated before the administration's Nov. 22 deadline for civilian workers, resistance to the mandate could leave major agencies responsible for national security without some personnel. Intelligence officers are particularly hard to replace due to the highly specialized work they do and the difficulties of completing security clearance checks.

CIA Director William Burns disclosed publicly last week that 97% of the agency's officers have been vaccinated. The National Reconnaissance Office, which operates U.S. spy satellites, has more than 90% of its workforce vaccinated.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence declined several requests to provide figures for the intelligence community. The office also would not say what contingency plans are in place in case officers are taken off work due to not complying with the mandate.

Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines declined at a hearing last week to disclose what percentage of the workforce had been vaccinated, but said, "we are not anticipating that it is going to be an issue for mission."

... Democratic members of the House Intelligence Committee say they're confident that the vaccination mandate will not cause a problem for the intelligence community. Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo., said the agencies were doing "quite well" and that getting vaccinated was a sign of an employee's readiness.

"If somebody is not willing to do what's necessary to protect their own health and the health of their unit, that actually calls into question their ability to effectively do the job," Crow said in an interview.

... Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in a statement that he supported requiring vaccinations for federal employees. "We need to be using every tool at our disposal to save lives and protect mission readiness," Warner said.

Federal employees who aren't vaccinated or haven't received an exemption by Nov. 22 could face a suspension of 14 days or fewer, followed by possible dismissal. The General Services Administration has advised agencies that "unique operational needs of agencies and the circumstances affecting a particular employee may warrant departure from these guidelines if necessary."

Steve Morrison, director of the Global Health Policy Center at the Washington-based Center for Strategic & International Studies, said the vaccine mandate was still relatively new and he expected the numbers to change before the administration's cutoff.

Morrison said that as intelligence agencies broadly work with unvaccinated employees, "they're going to have to show some flexibility around the margins without compromising away the basic strategy and goals."

"Getting control over this pandemic in the United States requires getting to a much higher level of vaccine coverage," Morrison said. "It's a matter of national security."
Read the full article: https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/962423