Health care workers face March 15 vaccination deadline after Supreme Court ruling

Twenty-five states and Washington, D.C. still face a February 28 deadline for receiving a full vaccination of health care workers, as authorization was not blocked in those states prior to Thursday’s Supreme Court decision.

The authorization — issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Medicaid Services’ Centers for Medical and Human Services — is still prohibited in Texas.

Texas filed its own lawsuit to challenge the authorization separately from the cases before the Supreme Court, and the initial injunction issued in that case last year is still in place.

The mandate covers health care workers at facilities that participate in Medicare and Medicaid. On Thursday, by 5 to 4 votes, the Supreme Court lifted lower court orders that were freezing authorization 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, Wyoming.

A CMS spokesperson told CNN in a statement that health care providers in those 24 states will have 30 days from issuing upcoming guidance to put in place plans and procedures to ensure their employees are fully vaccinated by March 15.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the definition of a complete vaccination is two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also recommends that eligible individuals receive a booster dose in addition to their initial series of vaccinations, but a booster is not required under CMS rules for health care workers.

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