California Mandates Either Vaccination or Weekly COVID-19 Testing for All Health Care Workers

With COVID-19 rates again rising rapidly among unvaccinated individuals, California health care and government leaders are pushing to increase vaccination rates for healthcare workers in the state.

On July 26, 2021, California Governor Gavin Newsom mandated that all California health care settings verify that their workers are either fully vaccinated or tested at least once per week. The new policy takes effect August 9, and health care facilities will have until August 23 to come into full compliance. California health care groups, including both the California Hospital Association and the California Medical Association, have applauded the measure. 

Governor Newsom’s mandate does not yet require vaccination; employees may instead choose to submit weekly COVID-19 test results and wear personal protective equipment at all times. But the calls for mandatory vaccination of all health care workers are growing. On July 26, 2021, the same day Governor Newsom released his new order, the California Medical Association joined 60 other major national health care groups, including the American College of Physicians (ACP), American College of Surgeons (ACS), American Public Health Association (APHA), and American Nurses Association (ANA), in calling for “all health care and long-term care employers to require their employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.” Mandatory vaccination may thus be on the horizon. 

In the meantime, hospitals and medical staff should review their infectious disease policies to ensure they reflect these latest developments in the law.

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