An article in the August issue of Healthcare Risk Management, “Healthcare Employers Can Mandate Vaccines, but Some Caution Necessary,” discussed recent federal guidance and court decisions that allow hospitals and other healthcare employers to require COVID-19 vaccines for their employees. Rivkin Radler’s Brian Conneely was quoted in the article.

“Based on recent federal court decisions, the [Equal Employment Opportunity Commission] guidance, and the June 2021 Occupational Safety and Health Administration [OSHA] emergency standard for healthcare employers, in our opinion, hospitals can, under current federal law, require COVID vaccines for their employees, subject to certain exemptions and safeguards,” Brian said.

An emergency standard recently issued by OSHA “recognizes the approved vaccines are safe and effective and an important tool in a multilayered protection plan against the risks of COVID in hospitals,” Brian added. “In fact, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital just announced a mandatory COVID vaccine requirement for employees, contractors, and volunteers at this hospital. Hospitals that wish to adopt mandatory vaccine policies should review available scientific data, give reasonable prior notice before implementing the requirement, establish procedures for applying for exemptions based on medical reasons or religious beliefs, establish medical or other review board for applications for exemptions from the requirement, and institute safeguards to protect confidential information related to requests for exemptions.”