Strong Opposition to Mandatory COVID Vaccinations

What do FedSmith readers think of mandatory COVID vaccinations for the federal workforce? Our latest survey shows strong opposition.

Table of Contents for This Article

Ordering Mandatory Covid Vaccinations

President Biden has ordered all federal employees, with limited exceptions, to receive COVID-19 vaccinations. The mandatory vaccination requirement will apply to employees who are teleworking and to remote workers as well as those working in an office.

Employees now have until November 22nd to be fully vaccinated.

Negative Reaction to Biden’s Order

There has been a strong, negative reaction to the move from the federal workforce.

To gauge how federal employees and retirees have reacted to the imposition of a requirement for mandatory vaccinations, FedSmith conducted a survey on the vaccine requirement over the last few days. With a large response of some 5,200 responses, the results are now in and the reaction is a strong one.

Generally, those responding to the survey do not think mandatory vaccinations will provide a safer workplace. More than 35% indicated they do not plan to get vaccinated. A majority indicated they would not be uncomfortable working with a person who has not been vaccinated.

Most respondents are opposed to a requirement to wear a mask at work.

About 32% of respondents indicated they would leave a federal job rather than receiving a vaccination and most think that at least some employees will lose their federal jobs as a result of the vaccination requirement.

Most respondents think unions will accede to the vaccination requirement.

63% Oppose Mandatory Vaccinations

More than 63% of those responding do not agree with the decision of the federal government to require COVID vaccinations for employees.

Way back in December 2020, president-elect Biden said a mandatory vaccination program was not necessary.

An analysis in a British paper at that time may still become a reality:

The US fight to control the coronavirus pandemic is about to slam head-first into a national anti-vaccine movement that is stubbornly pervasive.

That reality may be behind President-elect Biden’s statement that he would not support a government mandate that all Americans receive a Covid-19 vaccination. The attempt to implement one—even if supported by science and legal precedent dating back more than a century—could create a groundswell of opposition that would prove counterproductive to public health.

Federal Workforce Is Politically Friendly for President Biden

It would be hard to find a large audience as supportive of President Biden as the federal workforce and federal employee unions.

While the federal workforce is required to be a politically neutral workforce that works on behalf of the administration elected by the public, with the introduction of politically active federal employee unions the concept of a politically neutral workforce is more of an ideal than a reality. The unions always work hard and spend money to elect Democrats and have been strong supporters of Joe Biden—before and after he was elected.

Federal employee political donations have also been overwhelmingly in favor of Democrats. In the 2020 election, for example, 72.63% of donations went to Democrats and 24.15% went to Republicans as outlined in Political Donations and Federal Employees.

Strong Opposition from Political Supporters

While it may be hard to find a large audience more supportive of the policies, programs, and proposed spending programs than the federal workforce and its representatives, the Executive Order mandating COVID vaccinations has generated a backlash from an audience generally receptive to policies of the Biden administration.

Summary of Survey Responses

Here is a quick summary of survey responses.

Do you agree with the federal government’s decision to mandate the COVID vaccine for all of its employees?

  • No: 63.1%
  • Yes: 36.9%

Do you think that requiring all federal employees and contractors to be vaccinated against COVID-19 will better protect the federal workforce?

  • No: 58.7%
  • Yes: 41.3%

Do you think more federal employees will get vaccinated as a result of the guidelines?

  • Yes: 65.5%
  • No: 35.5%

Do you plan to get vaccinated?

  • Already vaccinated: 61.4%
  • No: 35.6%
  • Yes: 3%

If it came down to it, would you leave your federal job if you were required to get the vaccine?

  • N/A Already Vaccinated
  • Yes: 31.9%
  • No: 17.6%

Do you think many federal employees will end up leaving or being removed from their jobs because of a mandatory vaccine?

  • Some: 47.2%
  • Only a Few: 29%
  • A lot: 16.5%
  • None: 7.4%

Do you think federal employee unions will ultimately go along with a vaccination requirement?

  • Yes: 68.6%
  • No: 31.4%

Does a vaccine requirement make you feel safer about returning to in-office work?

  • No: 63.3%
  • Yes: 36.7%

Would it make you uncomfortable working with a person who has not been vaccinated?

  • No: 63.6%
  • Yes: 36.4%

Do you think federal employees should be required to wear masks in an office environment even after the new vaccine mandate fully takes effect?

  • No: 69.5%
  • Yes: 30.5%

Are more or fewer people teleworking/working remotely in your agency since the government imposed more stringent COVID guidelines?

  • More: 44.1%
  • Numbers have not changed: 34%
  • Not Sure: 16%
  • Fewer: 5.9%

Comments from Readers—Including Those Opposed to Vaccinations

This topic has elicited a large number of comments from readers with strong opinions. Of particular interest are comments from people strongly opposed to receiving the vaccinations.

Here are a few samples of the comments. The comments have not been edited.

Our thanks to all readers who took the time to take this survey and a special thanks to those who expressed their views in the comments section.

Fred Bitner

First- members of Congress and their staff are exempt.
Second- while members of Congress have allegedly tested positive, not a single one of them have died from the virus. How is that possible?
Third- prior to the election, the vice-presidential candidate said she would get the vaccination if her doctor told her to, but she would NOT get the shot if [then] President Trump mandated it. So how is it suddenly different now?
Lastly- I’ve got the shot, and 6 months later I’m still having neurological issues. THERE ARE SIDE EFFECTS!

Eric Clapton 

Your quitters need to calm down. No one is getting fire or removed if they refuse to get a shot. Let’s be realistic here. My local is already gathering the legal verbiage to claim religious exemption. Expect to see at least one half million Fed employees claiming that.

Barbara Kelly

If those quitting ever want to be part of a class action suit, they should make their managers terminate them. Those who are fired however, in most states, cannot apply for unemployment. Nice Catch-22.

Roll’n In The Federal Gravy Baby

It has nothing to do with being anti-vaccination. The concept of vaccination is sound science. Most if not all of the historical vaccinations were wonderful blessings. The new mRNA vaccines are no less scientific.

The far more important issue, is the difference between compulsion and freedom. The far more important difference is between necessity and fear mongering.

an American

The government you elect, is the government you deserve. Congrats.
During the campaign, President Biden said that he would not mandate vaccines. Perhaps he’s forgotten that he said that.


It’s going to be a mess. Some employees will lie, if the agency desires to check out the form (or whatever), then that’s when we get into potential HIPAA issues. As demonstrated over the last few years, IT stuff isn’t always secure, 😳.


No vax? No problem! You are fired! Go find another job that doesnt require vax…you are not guaranteed a fed job for life.


Give me a break. It has taken months for them to formulate procedures… after the 75 days is up.. likely it will take months to deal with any discipline… and then, the agency does NOT have to remove you. It won’t. It would only be making more work for themselves. I suspect a lot of federal employees will retire and will get other jobs.. this will be devastating to the federal government, never mind the law suits.


Our workforce is currently 100% telework, and the vast majority was full time telework before covid.

We aren’t allowed to meet members of the public at our homes. We can only do that in the office, and even then its optional because we use webex. Members of the public can come to our office, reserve a conference room and converse with a worker… via webex pre pandemic. Virtually all correspondence with the public is submitted digitally.

No a la Corrupcion

Can someone tell me an ‘intelligent” and or ‘common sense’ excuse why they dont want to get vaccinated? It is my right, i do with my body what i want and am religious, DO NOT COUNT. Go ahead please.


1. There is now researching being conducted on how the vaccine is affecting fertility. As a young woman, that concerns me.

2. I have familial cases of clotting, strokes, and heart-associated issues. The vaccine is tied to all of these issues.

3. I have severe food and medicine allergies.

4. The vaccine is not preventing people from getting or spreading the new variants of COVID, rendering it essentially ineffective. Why would I get an ineffective vaccine that would not protect me or those around me, especially for a disease that I have a 99.9% chance of surviving due to my age & health status.


Conservatives 💖 to say that no one ever quits government jobs because they are compensated so highly compared to the private sector.

We will see…🤣😂🤣😂🤣


Funny how Biden’s “pandemic of the unvaccinated:, has so many millions of vaccinated people that have become infected and spread it to both vac/uinvac persons through their daily routines. The vac does not effectively stop the spread of covid; Biden is a gross liar. And lets not forget Biden’s covid offensive allowing many hundreds of thousands of covid positive illegal aliens to enter the USA and has them shipped nationwide to spread the affliction. Biden is a covid killer via his border policy; maybe this is what he referred to in his statement?

About the Author

Ralph Smith has several decades of experience working with federal human resources issues. He has written extensively on a full range of human resources topics in books and newsletters and is a co-founder of two companies and several newsletters on federal human resources. Follow Ralph on Twitter: @RalphSmith47