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Biden-Harris Administration Announce Updated COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates

This Thursday, the Biden-Harris administration announced new COVID-19 vaccine mandates (Emergency Temporary Standard; ETS) for employees of private U.S. companies and health care facilities that participate in Medicare and Medicaid.


Private U.S. companies with 100 or more employees will be required to ensure that their employees are fully vaccinated by January 4th, 2022. Unvaccinated employees will be required to wear masks indoors by December 5th, 2021, and to provide a weekly negative COVID-19 test after the January deadline. Potential monetary penalties will be given to non-complying companies if it is shown that the company willfully is not following the mandate. The mandate also details cases of permissible employee exemption from COVID-19 vaccines, means of paying for weekly testing, and how oversight and compliance examination will function. The new mandate was issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).


Additionally, a new mandate includes details for requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for health care workers at facilities that participate in Medicare and Medicaid. All eligible staff will be required to have the first dose in a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series by December 5th, 2021, and to be fully vaccinated by January 4th, 2022. This emergency regulation was issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).


The CMS emergency regulation applies to eligible health care staff at: Ambulatory Surgical Centers, Hospices, Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, Hospitals, Long Term Care facilities, Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facilities, Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities, Home Health Agencies, Comprehensive Outpatient Rehabilitation Facilities, Critical Access Hospitals, Clinics (rehabilitation agencies, and public health agencies as providers of outpatient physical therapy and speech-language pathology services), Community Mental Health Centers, Home Infusion Therapy suppliers, Rural Health Clinics/Federally Qualified Health Centers, and End-Stage Renal Disease Facilities.


OSHA Frequently Asked Questions about Mandate: https://www.osha.gov/coronavirus/ets2/faqs


CMS Announcement: https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/press-releases/biden-harris-administration-issues-emergency-regulation-requiring-covid-19-vaccination-health-care


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