Biden Administration Announces Details of Two Major Vaccination Policies

On November 4, 2021, the Biden Administration announced the details of two policies to fight COVID-19. The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced vaccinations rules that covers two-thirds of all workers.


According to the OSHA rule, employers with 100 or more employees need to make sure each of their workers is fully vaccinated or tests for COVID-19 on at least a weekly basis. Under this rule employers are required to provide paid time for all employees to get vaccinated, and ensure all unvaccinated workers wear a face mask in their workplaces.


The CMS rule requires the health care workers at facilities participating in Medicare and Medicaid are fully vaccinated which applies to more than 17 million workers at approximately 76,000 health care facilities, including hospitals and long-term care facilities.


The Administration has previously implemented policies requiring millions of federal employees and federal contractors. The deadline for workers to receive their shots will be the same for the OSHA rule, the CMS rule, and the previously announced federal contractor vaccination requirement. Workers will need to have their final vaccination dose, either their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna, or single dose of Johnson & Johnson by January 4, 2022.


As sovereign nations, Tribes have the authority to protect the health and well-being of their citizens. American Indian and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) may be exposed to COVID-19 in the workplace therefore, vaccination is recommended for all eligible Tribal citizens. Unvaccinated AI/AN workers are more likely to contract and transmit COVID-19 in the workplace than vaccinated workers and can also put their families and Tribal community at risk. Tribal codes are one way to address occupational health and safety to prevent and mitigate exposure in the workplace. These codes can incorporate federal or state occupational safety and health laws. Based on the two rules, it is recommended that Tribal nations’ employers with 100 or more should implement a vaccine mandate or test employees for COVID-19 on at least a weekly basis. Read more.