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Update: Federal OSHA Workplace Vaccination Standards Back in Motion

Monday, December 20, 2021 

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced over the weekend that they would continue forward with the Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) effective January 10. This means employers will need to have policies in place for employees to be either fully vaccinated (both shots of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine) or begin submitting weekly tests. Full vaccination status and testing will need to occur, under this timeline, by February 9. OSHA states it will not issue its maximum fines prior to these dates should organizations be making good faith efforts come into compliance by the dates noted here.

As mentioned in all previous communications on this – California, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming, should closely monitor their states’ occupational safety and health agencies on how they may adopt this ETS and when those rules would be in effect. Note further that the OSHA ETS is likely to be heard before the U.S. Supreme Court.

While OSHA’s ETS is moving forward, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has stated that, despite last week’s Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals’ reversal of a lower court ruling effectively lifting the injunction in 26 states, the suspension continues nationwide. The CMS website, as of Monday, 12/20, 10:20 a.m. PT, states: “While CMS remains confident in its authority to protect the health and safety of patients in facilities funded by the Medicare and Medicaid programs, it has suspended activities related to the implementation and enforcement of this rule pending future developments in the litigation.” 

Will provide further updates as the needs arise.

Contact Cole Karr, NSDC Federal Advocacy Coordinator, for more information.