The President’s vaccination mandate and how it affects the Smithsonian

Secretary Lonnie Bunch says, “If you have not been vaccinated, the time for grappling with the decision is over. Now is the time to get your first shot.”

Needle being injected into vaccine vial with US flag in the background

Last week President Biden signed an Executive Order requiring all employees and contractors at executive branch agencies to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The Smithsonian also will require all Smithsonian employees (federal and trust), affiliated staff (including volunteers, interns, and fellows), and the contractors who work with us to be fully vaccinated by November 22, 2021, except in limited circumstances where a person is legally entitled to a reasonable accommodation. This requirement applies not only to employees, affiliated staff, and contractors who are working on-site but also to those teleworking in whole or in part. You will be hearing more about implementation in the coming weeks.

The Smithsonian has been entrusted with caring for the nation’s cultural and scientific heritage while preparing us for our shared future as a global community. We must show that same care for the shared future of the communities where we live and work, where we tirelessly educate, inform, and inspire. Each and every one of us must do what we can to stop the spread of this virus, to keep ourselves healthy so we can continue serving our mission, and to lead by example.

Smithsonian volunteers can find additional guidance about this requirement in their volunteer profile in the VSys database. To access VSys, log in with your credentials here. Once logged in, information can be found in ‘Documents’. Reach out to your direct supervisor with any questions about VSys access or this guidance.

Many of you are already vaccinated—thank you. If you have not been vaccinated, the time for grappling with the decision is over. Now is the time to get your first shot.

Thank you, as always, for the care you have shown for our community. We are in this together, and together we will move forward.


Lonnie G. Bunch

Posted: 16 September 2021
About the Author:

Alex di Giovanni is primarily responsible for "other duties as assigned" in the Office of Communications and External Affairs. She has been with the Smithsonian since 2006 and plans to be interred in the Smithson crypt.

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