In December 2020, the first COVID-19 vaccines were made available to the NIH Community. The NIH ORS manages the NIH COVID-19 Vaccine Program for NIH staff in coordination with the NIH Clinical Center and others. The goal of the NIH COVID-19 Vaccine Program is to minimize workplace transmission of SARS-CoV-2.
Employees providing healthcare or services in support of healthcare (Healthcare Workforce)
may be required to receive a COVID-19 vaccine because they are expected to perform duties
that put them in contact or potential contact with patients. We may request COVID-19
vaccination, and other vaccination documentation from Healthcare Workforce personnel at any
point during the onboarding process or at any time during your employment with NIH.
Vaccination status has important implications for NIH personnel with
exposure to SARS-CoV-2. Employees are strongly encouraged to be fully vaccinated and
boosted. Employees will be considered fully vaccinated for COVID-19 two weeks after they have
received the requisite number of doses of a COVID-19 vaccine approved or authorized for
emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or that has been listed for emergency
use by the World Health Organization. For Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, or AstraZeneca/Oxford,
that is 2 weeks after an employee has received the second dose in a 2-dose series. For Johnson
and Johnson (J&J)/Janssen, that is 2 weeks after an employee has received a single dose.
Participants in clinical trials within or outside the United States who received all of the recommended “active” (not placebo) primary series doses of a WHO-EUL COVID-19 vaccine that is not FDA-approved or FDA-authorized or a vaccine that is not listed for emergency use by WHO but for which a U.S. data and safety monitoring board or equivalent has independently confirmed efficacy (i.e., Novavax COVID-19 vaccine, Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in children aged 6-17 years) are also considered fully vaccinated.
If you don't meet these requirements, you are NOT fully vaccinated under HHS policy. Keep taking all precautions until you are fully vaccinated.
More information on the NIH vaccination policy and requirements can be found at
Vaccination may have short-term side-effects and NIH vaccination paid leave options are available. This includes up to 4 hours of excused absence to receive/accompany a family member during normal tour hours for each dose of the vaccine and two administrative workdays for those who experience/must assist a family member who experiences side effects as a result of the vaccine.
Vaccines are one important pillar to an overall risk mitigation approach to minimizing workplace transmission of SARS-CoV-2. Even if vaccinated, the safety procedures outlined in this site must still be adhered to at all times. Vaccination is critical to prevent serious illness and hospitalization, and they do decrease the risk of becoming infected. Over time, immunity wanes and we know vaccinated persons can become infected and transmit infection to others. Thus, the best way to decrease transmission and reduce risk is to encourage self- screening and quarantine, wear face coverings, stay physically distant, and reduce staff densities where feasible.