The Occupational Safety and Health Administration released their official rule on Thursday, requiring large employers to mandate that employees subject themselves to one of the COVID-19 regimens or face weekly testing, continued mask-wearing, and possible fines and penalties.
According to the OSHA news release, “Under this standard, covered employers must develop, implement and enforce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, unless they adopt a policy requiring employees to choose to either be vaccinated or undergo regular COVID-19 testing and wear a face covering at work.”
Therefore, all employers of 100+ people must ensure their employees are fully vaccinated by January 4 or allow their employees to submit to weekly testing—at the employees’ cost—and mask-wearing if the company permits.
“Fully vaccinated” means either both Pfizer-BioNTech shots, both Moderna shots, or the one Johnson & Johnson shot.
This federal rule will pre-empt any state-level law or executive order prohibiting employer vaccine mandates, according to the White House. Texas has already seen major corporations such as American Airlines, Union-Pacific Railroad, and Southwest Airlines ignore Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order prohibiting employer vaccine mandates, while Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has filed suit against Biden’s mandate.
Set to impact more than 84 million employees, these vaccine requirements may add to the current supply chain delays as people exercise their medical freedom and walk away from their jobs or avoid entering fields that require a COVID-19 vaccination.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is also mandating “that health care workers at facilities participating in Medicare and Medicaid are fully vaccinated. The rule applies to more than 17 million workers at approximately 76,000 health care facilities, including hospitals and long-term care facilities.”