On May 1, 2023, the Biden Administration announced it will end COVID-19 vaccination requirements for Federal employee, contractors, and Medicare- and Medicaid-certified providers and suppliers. In rolling back the vaccination requirements, the Biden-Harris Administration recognized the vaccine’s success in combating COVID-19 but acknowledged that times have changed since the roll out of the vaccination requirements.
CMS Vaccine Mandate
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) released its Interim Final Rule requiring COVID-19 staff vaccination for Medicare- and Medicaid-certified providers and suppliers on November 4, 2021. After several court challenges, on January 13, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court authorized CMS to proceed with the vaccination mandate. CMS has enforced the staff vaccination requirement for Medicare- and Medicaid-certified providers and suppliers in all states since February 20, 2022. Despite the controversy, it is estimated that over 94 percent of healthcare professionals had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
The Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) is expected to provide further details on unwinding the vaccination mandate for Medicare- and Medicaid-certified providers and suppliers in the coming days.
Federal Employees & Federal Contractor Vaccine Mandates
The Safer Federal Workforce Task Force (“Task Force”) has updated its website to state that federal employers and federal contractors should continue to take no further action to implement or enforce the COVID-19 vaccination requirements. Following two executive orders on September 9, 2021, the Biden Administration required federal employers to implement vaccine mandates for federal employees and required federal contractors to implement certain safety protocols which included vaccine mandates.
Nationwide preliminary injunctions prohibited enforcing both vaccine requirements. Even with the injunction, the Biden Administration touted 98% compliance, including those employees that received at least one dose or had a pending or approved exemption request. The Task Force said it will release further guidance once President Biden issues his Executive Order formally rescinding the vaccination requirements for federal employees and COVID-19 safety protocols for federal contractors.
Link to the White House Statement: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2023/05/01/the-biden-administration-will-end-covid-19-vaccination-requirements-for-federal-employees-contractors-international-travelers-head-start-educators-and-cms-certified-facilities/
Amanda M. Wilwert
Foulston Healthcare Attorney
Morgan E. Geffre
Foulston Employment Law Attorney