By Tierney Sneed
Health care workers covered by the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate will have until March 15 to be fully vaccinated in the 24 states where the requirement was reinstated by the Supreme Court, the agency implementing the policy said Friday.
Twenty-five states and Washington, DC, continue to face a February 28 deadline for covered health care workers to be fully vaccinated, as the mandate had not been blocked in those states before the Supreme Court order that came down Thursday.
The mandate — issued by the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services — remains blocked in Texas.
Texas had brought its own lawsuit challenging the mandate separate from the cases that were before the Supreme Court and the preliminary injunction that was issued in that case last year still stands.
The mandate covers health care workers at facilitates that participate in Medicare and Medicaid. On Thursday, by a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court lifted lower court orders that were freezing the mandate in 24 states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.
A spokesperson for CMS told CNN in a statement the health care providers in those 24 states will have 30 days from the issuance of forthcoming guidance to establish plans and procedures to ensure their staff are fully vaccinated by March 15.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the definition of fully vaccinated is two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The CDC also recommends that eligible individuals receive a booster shot in addition to their primary vaccine series, but a booster is not required under the CMS rules for health care workers.
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