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Yes, Biden's vaccine mandate applies to CDC employees, but not members of Congress

The deadline for the majority of federal employees to prove vaccination status is November 22.

ATLANTA — The COVID-19 vaccine mandate for the majority of federal employees starts November 22, but when it comes to President Biden's executive order, there is still confusion about who it impacts. 

Suzanne reached out to the 11Alive Verify team for clarification when it comes to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Congress. 


Does President Biden's vaccine mandate apply to CDC employees and members of Congress?


  • The White House
  • Dr. Andra Gillespie, Emory University political science professor


Yes, President Biden's executive order mandating the vaccine for federal workers with few exceptions impacts the CDC as part of the executive branch. But the mandate does not apply to Congress due to separation of powers between the executive and legislative branch.


"I will sign an executive order that will now require all executive branch federal employees to be vaccinated," President Joe Biden announced in September, rolling out a mandate requiring COVID-19 vaccination for federal employees and contractors with few exceptions. 

Experts clarified the rule came via executive order, so as a result, it impacts the executive branch, which includes the CDC.

"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is an agency that falls under the purview of the Department of Health and Human Services," Dr. Andra Gillespie explained. "So as such, it is an executive branch agency that President Biden can issue a vaccine mandate to."

Yet with Congress, it's another story. 

"President Biden's executive order requiring all federal employees to be vaccinated doesn't apply to Congress or the Supreme Court because of separation of powers," Gillespie said. "So keep in mind that the president oversees a basket bureaucracy of our cabinet departments and federal agencies. and that directive is to the millions of people who work there. It is not towards employees who work for the other two branches of government."

As a result, we can verify it's true the CDC falls under Biden's federal employee mandate, but that same rule does not apply to Congress.

The president does not have the power to pass mandates for the legislative and judicial branches. 

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