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Employment Alert! Vaccine Mandate for Healthcare Workers Placed On-Hold by Federal Courts

December 1, 2021

A federal mandate requiring 10.3 million healthcare workers to be fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus is on-hold nationwide after federal judges in Missouri and Louisiana issued separate temporary injunction orders blocking the mandate, at least for now. 

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) issued its nationwide vaccination mandate last month, setting a January 4, 2022, deadline for eligible staff working at almost all CMS-certified facilities that participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs, to be fully vaccinated. The planned requirement includes all current staff as well as any new staff who provide any care, treatment, or other services for the facility and/or its patients, to include facility employees, licensed practitioners, students, trainees, and volunteers. 

Monday, a federal judge in Missouri issued a temporary injunction to halt the CMS mandate in 10 states which were parties to that lawsuit. Less than 24 hours later, a federal judge in Louisiana issued a separate nationwide temporary injunction, blocking CMS from enforcing its mandate in all other states, including Oklahoma. CMS has an immediate right to appeal the two temporary injunction orders to the Eighth and Fifth Circuit courts of appeals, respectively. The issue will most likely be ultimately decided by the United States Supreme Court. 

Please do not hesitate to contact a member of the Hall Estill Labor and Employment Team if you have any questions regarding vaccine mandates or other employment related matters.