On January 7, 2021, Ms. Ellen M. Lord, on behalf of the Department of Defense (DoD) Office of the Undersecretary of Defense, issued a memorandum for the Defense Industrial Base (DIB) regarding the DoD COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation and Distribution Policy. This memo, along with the attached DoD guidance documents, the “Coronavirus Disease 2019 Vaccine Guidance” issued on December 7, 2020, and the “Supplemental Guidance for Providing DoD Coronavirus Disease 2019 Vaccines to DoD Contractor Employees and Select Foreign Nationals” issued December 31, 2020, address which DoD contractor employees are eligible to be vaccinated through the DoD-provided vaccination system.
Per the DoD guidance, “employees of DoD contractors directly supporting the DoD on DoD installations or in an operational environment in accordance with the attached DoD COVID-19 vaccine population schema (e.g. healthcare providers/support personnel, personnel preparing to deploy) and the terms of applicable contracts” are eligible to be vaccinated. The Military Departments or DoD/ Office of the Secretary of Defense Components may also request on a case-by-case basis that additional DoD contractors providing mission-essential critical capabilities be eligible by making a request to the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs.
Such employees may be vaccinated in Phase 1A or 1B according to the DoD Population Scheme. The DoD will administer the vaccines at the initial vaccine sites, which were selected by the DoD COVID-19 Task Force based on their capacity to receive ultra-cold vaccines, their patient population, and on-site personnel. A full list of the sites is available here and include 16 sites within the continental United States and 4 sites outside of the continental United States.
Nevertheless, given that only a subset of DoD contractor employees is eligible for DoD-provided vaccines, the broader DIB may need to rely on the State vaccination plans. The DoD COVID-19 Task Force is therefore working with the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which in turn are coordinating with State public health officials to advocate for the inclusion of the DIB, on a priority basis, within State jurisdiction level vaccination plans.
Additionally, DoD contractors are encouraged to engage with the state and local public health authorities to advocate for appropriate prioritization of their employees and are recommended to use the March 20, 2020 memorandum, which identified the DIB as a Critical Infrastructure Sector, to assist those discussions.
Crowell & Moring will continue to monitor the DoD vaccine distribution as well as federal and state developments.