After the Supreme Court upheld President Biden’s vaccine mandate for healthcare workers, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued updated guidance for its enforcement. It set March 15 as the deadline for eligible healthcare workers to be fully vaccinated against COVID. Healthcare providers, including hospitals and long-term care facilities, in the 24 states where vaccine mandates are not yet in effect are covered by this decision. Workers must receive at least one vaccine shot within 30 days and be fully vaccinated by March 15.
The Court’s decision does not affect timelines already in place for states that had not challenged the mandate, nor does it affect Texas, as the state had sued separately in front of the Court. The requirements come as hospitals in many parts of the country are running out of bed and are understaffed as a result of rising numbers of COVID cases and staff shortages due to sick leaves or pandemic-fueled burnout. Despite potential challenges and resistance in the short term, experts say mandates will convince more people to become vaccinated and as such, prevent the further spread of the virus.