COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates Are Coming Your Way

COVID-19 vaccine

Yesterday, President Biden announced three new COVID-19 vaccine mandates that will soon take effect for federal contractors, hospitals and health care organizations that receive Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement, and private employers with 100 or more employees.  As of right now, the COVID-19 vaccine mandates will not fully take effect until further action is taken by administrative agencies. 

Mandate for Federal Contractors

The COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal contractors will apply to all contractors and subcontractors (of any tier) who are performing work under a procurement contract for services, construction, or a leasehold interest in federal property; or a contract entered into with the Federal Government in connection with federal property providing services for federal employees, their dependents, or the general public.  The vaccine mandate for federal contractors, however, does not apply to federal grants or federal subcontracts solely for the provision of products.  This vaccine mandate will apply to all covered federal contracts and extensions and renewals of existing federal contracts entered into on or after October 15, 2021.  More information regarding this particular mandate will be available once further Guidance is issued by the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force on or around September 24, 2021.

Mandate for Hospitals

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”), in collaboration with the CDC, announced yesterday that emergency regulations requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for nursing home workers will be expanded to include hospitals, dialysis facilities, ambulatory surgical settings, and home health agencies, among others, as a condition for participating in the Medicare and Medicaid programs.  CMS is developing an Interim Final Rule regarding this COVID-19 vaccine mandate that will be issued in October.  Health care workers employed in these facilities who are not currently vaccinated are urged to begin the process immediately.  Facilities are urged to use all available resources to support employee vaccinations, including employee education and clinics, as they work to meet new federal requirements.

Mandate for Private Employers with 100 or More Employees

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) is developing a rule that will require all private employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or require any workers who remain unvaccinated to produce a negative test result on at least a weekly basis before coming to work.  President Biden stated that OSHA will issue an Emergency Temporary Standard (“ETS”) to implement this requirement.  No information has been released yet regarding when OSHA expects to issue this ETS.

If you have any questions on this topic, or need assistance navigating these changes, please contact our Labor & Employment Law Practice Group.  We encourage you to subscribe to our Labor & Employment E-Briefs to keep up with the latest HR news, tips, and updates.