In 2021, the Administration implemented vaccine mandates for specific individuals. This mandate enhanced employee safety and workplace efficiency while safeguarding critical sectors of the economy and vulnerable populations. However, the government has recently decided to terminate these requirements.
The Initial Mandate
The government has tracked the hospitalizations and deaths since implementing these requirements. The government has recorded a 95% decline in COVID-19 deaths, and hospitalizations have decreased by 91%. After a massive government effort, 270 million U.S. residents have had one or more shots of the COVID-19 vaccine. This effort has changed the situation since the establishment of the initial requirements.
As a result, the Administration ended COVID-19 vaccine requirements for several groups of people. The provision ended for federal contractors, employees, and international air travelers on May 11. In addition, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Health and Human Services (HHS) will work to end this requirement for other sectors. They will end it for CMS-certified healthcare facilities, Head Start educators, and some non-citizens at the land border.
The Administration’s Comments
According to the Administration, “Our Administration’s vaccination requirements helped ensure the safety of workers in critical workforces, including those in the healthcare and education sectors, protecting themselves and the populations they serve, and strengthening their ability to provide services without disruptions to operations.”
The Administration also commented on the results of mandating vaccines. As of January 2022, 98% of employees received at least one dose or have either a pending or approved exception or extension. They also clarified that the vaccination requirements enacted for some travelers. This mandate intended to slow the spread of new variants entering the United States. It also allowed the healthcare system to prepare for the potential increase in cases and hospitalizations.
The Administration said their vaccine requirements and overall vaccination campaign saved millions of lives. According to their claims, they made historic investments in vaccines that became widely accessible, along with tests and treatments to combat the illness. Finally, the Administration emphasized that vaccination is “one of the most important tools in advancing the health and safety of employees and promoting the efficiency of workplaces; we are now in a different phase of our response when these measures are no longer necessary.”
Once the CMS mandate ends, many healthcare employers can decide if they want to continue requiring COVID-19 vaccinations. However, these employers should check for state or local regulations, which may still require COVID-19 vaccinations. In some cases, they could ban COVID-19 vaccination requirements if no longer federally mandated.