Veterans Affairs prepares to offer COVID-19 booster shots to veterinarians and employees

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  • The Department of Veterans Affairs said it was ready to offer COVID-19 booster shots to veterans and employees who received their first doses of the vaccine six months or more ago. It will prioritize long-term care residents aged 65 and over and those aged 50 to 64 with underlying health conditions. VA said it will expand to veterans and their families of all ages if supplies permit. The department will contact eligible veterans who receive their VA care regarding booster injections. Others who do not have a medical record with VA should contact the department for more information. The Food and Drug Administration has only cleared the Pfizer vaccine as a booster shot.
  • Federal contractors have their own deadline for complying with President Biden’s vaccine mandate. Federal contractors must be fully vaccinated by December 8. Like federal employees, they must show proof of vaccination. Contractors are also eligible for reasonable accommodation if they have an approved medical or religious exception. The Biden administration said contractors are responsible for collecting proof of vaccination and granting accommodation requests. The new security protocols apply to all employees of contractors, even those who do not work on a specific government contract. Telecommuting entrepreneurs are also covered by the new policy. (Federal Information Network)
  • The postal service hit its peak hiring target at the end of last year. His Inspector General said this was the first time the USPS had met its goals in recent years. However, this year’s peak hiring season has been extended until the end of March, instead of January 1, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. USPS hired more than 48,000 employees during the peak season last year. Agency management disagrees with IG’s claim that it has failed to meet hiring targets in previous years.
  • The first update to the Grants Shared Services offering will be ready in fiscal 2022. The three former federal Grants Management Shared Service Providers will be part of the initial launch of the new Service Management Office Marketplace. quality (QSMO). The Departments of Education, Health, and Human Services and the National Science Foundation will begin proposing the new technology and business process standards by mid-fiscal 2022. Next, the HHS-led QSMO will begin to use private sector suppliers. The overall goal is to consolidate and standardize the more than 300 grant management systems across government over the next decade.
  • An online directory of executive appointees is one step closer to reality. The provision requiring an online version of the PLUM book became the House-passed version of the Defense Authorization Bill. The disposition were from Oversight and Reform Chairperson Carolyn Maloney (DN.Y.) and Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) and John Sarbanes (D-Md.). The Bureau of Personnel Management currently publishes a list of political appointments every four years. But the list is only a representative snapshot in time. It doesn’t document appointees coming and going in real time.
  • Annual budget justifications should be a little easier to come by now that President Joe Biden has signed a bill. The Congressional Budget Transparency Act requires agencies to post easily understandable versions of their annual budget justification on a single government website. The law requires the Office of Management and Budget to maintain an up-to-date list of agencies that must submit budget justifications. Agencies will also need to publish a plain language version on their own sites.
  • A Senate bill would create closer coordination between the US Cyber ​​Command and the private sector. The Armed Forces Committee version of the Defense Authorization Bill would require CYBERCOM to put in place a voluntary process to engage with commercial information technology and cybersecurity companies. The committee wants the command and the private sector to join forces to protect themselves against malicious foreign cyber actors. CYBERCOM and the National Security Agency have sought to work more closely with the private sector in recent years after the Snowden revelations led to an icy relationship between the tech industry and government.
  • The Department of Homeland Security would establish new test centers to assess the cybersecurity of critical devices and technologies under a bill approved by the House. a amendment In the defense authorization bill passed by the House, DHS is expected to establish four critical technology security centers. They would focus on test technologies that underpin national critical functions, which include activities ranging from power distribution to Internet routing services. Initial funding for the centers would start at $ 40 million in 2022.
  • The Air Force said its pilot production numbers remained stable despite challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The service produced 1,263 new pilots last year, about 16 fewer than in 2019. The Air Force plans to increase production by about 100 in 2021. The force still faces a pilot shortage and had to make some changes to keep the drivers. The service is trying to be more flexible in its training to get people through the pipeline faster.
  • The Department of Defense has a drug problem, but that’s not what you think. The Pentagon supplies essential drugs to millions of Americans, but a new report reveals that the supply of these drugs could be threatened. The Defense Department inspector general said the military relied heavily on other countries to provide pharmaceuticals to the military and their families. In a report, the IG found that the DoD did not have a strategy for purchasing the necessary drugs in the event of a supply chain disruption. Additionally, the DoD often buys its drugs at the last minute, which means drugs could quickly become scarce. (Federal Information Network)
  • The Pentagon and the Department of Energy have opened to public comments on technologies that could allow the military to power its facilities with small portable nuclear reactors. The DoD wants to build a prototype reactor at the Idaho National Laboratory, capable of generating up to five megawatts of electricity. The agencies expect to make a decision on whether or not to go ahead with the project by early next year. (Federal Information Network)
  • At some agencies, nearly a third of all comments on proposed settlements may not come from the person associated with the email address included with the submission. A new report from the Government Accountability Office found a great disparity between the ability of agencies to verify or even collect data on commentators. The GAO looked at 10 agencies that received comments over a four-year period and found that some agencies were able to verify nearly 90% of the commenters, while others struggled. GAO made 10 recommendations to agencies, focusing primarily on working with Regulations.gov to fully describe the public comment data available, including limitations, to external users of the data.


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