COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for health care workers

The announcement is part of a slate of new vaccine mandates announced Sept. 9.

Healthcare facilities which treat Medicare and Medicaid patients will have to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

In a Sept. 9 speech, President Joe R. Biden said he would expand the current vaccination requirement from only covering workers in nursing homes that accept Medicare and Medicaid patients to include all workers in hospitals, home healthcare facilities, and other medical facilities, a total of 17 million workers.

“If you’re seeking care at a health facility, you should be able to know that the people treating you are vaccinated,” Biden said. “Simple.Straightforward.Period.”

Biden also called on physicians to urge their patients to be vaccinated.

“(T)o the nation’s family physicians, pediatricians, GPs — general practitioners – you’re the most trusted medical voice to your patients,” he said. “You may be the one person who can get someone to change their mind about being vaccinated.”

The announcement is just one of a bevy of actions Biden laid out for vaccine mandates that will impact millions of Americans.

Biden also announced that the Department of Labor is working on an emergency rule requiring employers with 100 or more employees to require their workforce to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or show a negative test at least once a week.

“ The bottom line: We’re going to protect vaccinated workers from unvaccinated co-workers,” he said. “We’re going to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by increasing the share of the workforce that is vaccinated in businesses all across America.”

The Department of Labor will also require employers with 100 or more employees to give workers paid time off to get vaccinated.

Biden also signed a pair of executive orders requiring all executive branch federal employees and federal contractors to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

As previously reported, mandating employee vaccinations is a prospect fraught with possible pitfalls for physicians and an improperly implemented mandate could see employers running afoul of a number of laws including: the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), and certain privacy laws.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reports that under the ADA, Title VII, and other federal employment nondiscrimination laws, employers can require all employees who enter their work premises to be vaccinated for COVID-19. However, this mandate is subject to the reasonable accommodation provisions of various laws and other equal employment opportunity considerations.

Meanwhile, surveys of the general population show that vaccine mandates can have a positive impact on vaccination rates.

More than 1 in 4 unvaccinated adults said they would get vaccinated if required to attend a sporting event or concert. More than 10% said they’d “definitely” receive a shot to go to such an event, while an even greater share of unvaccinated adults said they could be convinced to get a vaccine in order to shop in a store (35%) or to send one’s child to school (33%).

Not surprisingly, vaccinated adults were more likely to support these policies than unvaccinated respondents. Roughly 70% of vaccinated adults supported vaccine mandates for indoor concerts and sporting events, for example, but only about one-third of unvaccinated consumers said the same.

This article was originally posted on Medical Economics®.