Vaccination mandate for health workers begins to take effect
On Thursday, health workers in about half of the states will need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 when the Biden administration’s requirement takes effect.
Enforcement of the requirement begins in 25 states and the District of Columbia, and will expand to all other states except Texas on February 14. Application in Texas will begin February 22.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have staggered the deadlines due to various lawsuits filed by GOP-led states. Subsequent court rulings blocked the requirement in some states but not others, leading to a patchwork of different rules in the Supreme Court earlier this month allowing the requirement to take effect.
Thursday’s deadline requires staff at all Medicare and Medicaid-certified facilities and providers to have received at least the first dose of a primary series or a single dose of COVID-19 vaccine before providing care, treatment or other services.
Employees will have an additional month to receive second doses, if needed.
The court ruled 5-4 to keep the healthcare workers‘ mandate, with Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughHow Cruz Supreme Court Case Could Lead to Unlimited Anonymous Campaign Spending Will Justices End Race-Based Affirmative Action? Are the legal walls closing in on Donald Trump? FOLLOWING join the more liberal justices Stephane BreyerStephen BreyerProgressives see Breyer’s retirement as cold solace Briefing in Short: Biden has pledged to appoint a black woman to the Supreme Court Names to know as Biden mulls Breyer’s replacement MORE, Sonia SotomayorSonia SotomayorProgressives See Breyer’s Retirement as Cold Comfort Will Judges End Race-Based Affirmative Action? Sotomayor: It’s a mistake to believe ‘the law is clear’ in Supreme Court cases MORE and Elena KaganElena KaganProgressives See Breyer’s Retirement as Cold Comfort Will Judges End Race-Based Affirmative Action? The Supreme Court just added affirmative action to its list of unfinished conservative cases MORE.
The order will cover approximately 10.3 million healthcare workers across all sectors of the healthcare industry, including doctors, nurses, technicians and even volunteers at every facility participating in Medicare or Medicaid.
It provides for narrow exemptions on religious and medical grounds.
Employees can be terminated for noncompliance, and if the noncompliance is facility-wide, it could result in termination of Medicare and Medicaid programs.
Health experts say there is clear evidence that mandates are getting more people vaccinated. As the omicron variant spreads across the country, infecting both vaccinated and unvaccinated health workers, there is an urgent need to ensure that essential health workers are protected from serious illness or even death.
But hospitals and nursing homes have expressed concern that the requirements could lead to staffing shortages, especially in states that have not had warrants or where governors have banned them.
Just before Thursday’s deadline, the Montana senator. Steve DainesSteven (Steve) David DainesHillicon Valley: Amazon’s Labor Fight in Alabama – Two Senate Judiciary Committees Debate Key Antitrust Bill Defense and National Security Overnight – No Sanctions in Alabama’s Failed Drone Strike Kabul MORE (R), Representative Matt Rosendale (R) and Governor. Greg GianforteGregory Richard GianforteTest group targets Tester, Sinema, Kelly Montana sees decrease in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations GOP Moral Postmodernism MORE (R) sent a letter to the Biden administration asking that the vaccine requirement be lifted at rural health facilities in the state.
“We are deeply concerned that the vaccine mandate penalizes healthcare entities that simply cannot comply with the mandate due to ongoing workforce challenges,” they wrote. “Some Montana facilities cannot afford to lose another healthcare professional, especially when alternative measures can be implemented, such as masking and testing, to protect the safety and health of employees, patients and visitors against COVID-19.”