CLEVELAND — Following the Supreme Court's decision to allow the Biden administration to proceed with a vaccine mandate for most health care workers in the U.S., Cleveland Clinic has announced a new deadline for caregivers to get their shots.
"We are requiring all of our employees and those who provide services with our facilities in those states to receive their first dose of an mRNA vaccine or their one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine by January 27, 2022 and the second vaccine by February 28, 2022. Those who do not receive their vaccinations and who do not have an approved exemption will be placed on an unpaid leave of absence," Cleveland Clinic said in a statement released on Friday evening.
University Hospitals says it is reviewing the ruling by the court that covers virtually all health care workers in the country, applying to providers that receive federal Medicare or Medicaid funding. It affects 10.4 million workers at 76,000 health care facilities as well as home health care providers. The rule has medical and religious exemptions.
"We believe, consistent with the scientific consensus, that COVID-19 vaccines and boosters are the most effective way to protect our caregivers, patients and community from severe illness resulting in hospitalization and death. Since the vaccine became available in late 2020, University Hospitals has encouraged our caregivers to get vaccinated, educated them on the benefits of vaccination and made vaccines readily available to them. The overwhelming majority of our caregivers are vaccinated and we are grateful to them all for their service during this challenging time. We are reviewing the most recent ruling to ensure compliance with federal requirements," said UH spokesperson George Stamatis in a statement to 3News.
In December, both UH and the Clinic suspended their vaccine mandates for caregivers after a federal judge put in a preliminary injunction against the Biden Administration. Healthcare workers have been able to provide patient care service regardless of vaccination status since then.
The Supreme Court did conclude that the Biden administration overstepped its authority by seeking to impose the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's vaccine-or-test rule on U.S. businesses with at least 100 employees. More than 80 million people would have been affected and OSHA had estimated that the rule would save 6,500 lives and prevent 250,000 hospitalizations over six months.
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