Civilian employees and contractor personnel will be fired if they are not vaccinated by Nov. 22, DOD announced in a memo. Those with approved or pending exemptions can stay on the job.

Contractor employees who are not vaccinated by then should receive a “five-day period of counseling and education,” according to the memo. If they still refuse to get the vaccine, they can be suspended without pay for up to two weeks then “removed from federal service for failing to follow a direct order.”

Department of Veterans officials will also require counseling for the department’s unvaccinated employees.

“The process starts with counseling, and if we get to it, it ends with separation. But there are a lot of steps along the way,” VA Secretary Denis McDonough told reporters, according to Military Times. “I believe that in certain circumstances, unvaccinated employees pose a serious risk to the health of our veterans.”

Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Sebastian Minshall