Making Sense of Vaccine Mandates

One of the largest points of conflict for Americans during the pandemic has been on vaccine mandates. Regardless of opinions on the topic, it’s important for business owners to keep up to date on the regulations to keep out of trouble. Unfortunately, messaging throughout the pandemic and details of regulations have been cloudy, if not outright confusing. In January, the federal courts struck down vaccine mandates for healthcare workers, for example. In the meantime, that decision has actually been reversed, and healthcare workers are now mandated to have at least one vaccination shot by February 14th, and full vaccination by March 15. With so many different and changing mandates, many business owners are understandably confused about where their business stands and what they must do to comply.


Originally, there were several states in which district judges had been blocking vaccine mandates for Medicare and Medicaid workers, including Texas, Louisiana, and Kentucky. The injunctions were originally put into place to prevent the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services mandate. These injunctions were then overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision, which held that the mandate created by the CMS is necessary to protect patients and employees in healthcare. Organizations found not to be in compliance with the mandate could be subject to removal from Medicare and Medicaid programs, although CMS has stated that it will focus on bringing these organizations into compliance. 

Federal Workers

As of early February, two federal courts have blocked a mandate requiring federal workers to get vaccinated. This comes late in the lifespan of the mandate, which was created last year and required federal workers to have full vaccination before the end of November. 98% of federal workers were already in compliance as of December of 2021, including exemptions. 

Private Businesses

The Supreme Court also passed a ruling on the mandate created by The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA – blocking the mandate on the basis that it was beyond the scope of the agency. While OSHA is responsible for maintaining and regulating rules on occupational dangers, the court ruled that mandating vaccines for employees of private businesses was too broad. The OSHA mandate specified that any business with over 100 employees would have to verify that an employee is vaccinated, or test for COVID-19 weekly in order to come to work. OSHA has stated that they will continue efforts in protecting workers from COVID-19, including guidelines for healthcare facilities that standardize protective equipment and sanitation protocols. 

If your business is in need of reputable assistance in complying with the web of COVID-19 mandates, or any other business law issues, call us at (954) 315-1155 to set up a consultation with our team.

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John Salas

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