Vaccine Mandate Compliance

The NYS Department of Health has updated guidance to reflect the requirement of booster shots for all health care workers. The guidance states that covered entities must have documentation of compliance with the emergency regulation by February 21st, and those personnel not currently eligible for boosters receive their boosters within 30 days of becoming eligible.

In addition to New York’s vaccine mandate outlined in the regulation Prevention of COVID-19 Transmission by Covered Entities, the CMS Interim Final Rule vaccine mandate is also now in effect nationwide. The updated NYS Department of Heath guidance linked above states that covered entities “must have a process in place to consider reasonable accommodation requests from covered personnel based on sincerely held religious beliefs consistent with applicable Federal and State laws, including Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) laws such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the NYS Human Rights Law, and their applicable guidance.” This is a departure from earlier guidance, which suggested covered entities could provide reasonable accommodations but did not state that covered entities must consider reasonable accommodations.

Please note that while the federal vaccine mandate allows individuals with sincerely held religious beliefs to become exempt from the vaccine mandate and continue working in clinic, the NYS mandate allows only for “reasonable accommodations” that do not include working in clinic or in situations where the exempted individual could potentially infect patients or other covered personnel. Click here to read the DOH FAQ.

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