California Expands Vaccine Mandate for Health Care Workers

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California Expands Vaccine Mandate for Health Care Workers

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has recently expanded its vaccine mandate to include multiple new categories of workers. This expands upon the agency’s existing mandate, which was instituted early in August which included all health care workers, and to which local governments such as the County of Los Angeles had already expanded upon adding workers such as in-home non-medical healthcare workers.

Under the CDPH’s new mandate, several new categories of workers will be included, such as workers at adult care facilities and all direct care workers. These newly covered workers must have received the first dose of an approved vaccine by November 30, 2021.

Workers covered by this new order include:

  • All workers employed or providing services to the California Department of Social Services. 
  • All direct care services workers providing in-home care, including certified home health aides and registered home care aides. 
    • This exempts those that only provide services to a recipient that is either a family member or living with the recipient.
  • All in-home or licensed facility hospice workers.
  • All service providers and regional center workers that provide services through the Regional Center network that serves those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. 
    • This exempts those that only provide services to a recipient that is either a family member or living with the recipient.
  • All in-home supportive services California Department of Social Services and waiver personal care services providers as defined by the California Department of Health Care Services. 
    • This exempts those that only provide services to a recipient that is either a family member or living with the recipient.

Several of these requirements provided exemptions to those who live with the care recipient. However, this rule only applies if a worker provides their services within a single household. If a worker does so in multiple households, the exemption will not apply, and the individual will be required to comply with the vaccination requirement.

However, exemptions are still provided for those with qualifying religious beliefs and medical reasons. If a worker feels that either of these exemptions applies to them, they should provide a signed declination form to their own employer.

If the worker does receive an exemption, they will need to comply with further safety requirements, including weekly PCR or antigen testing for COVID-19 and wearing a surgical mask or a high-level respirator such as an N95 model respirator whenever in the home or facility in which they work.

Employers of workers covered by these requirements must maintain records of all of these workers’ vaccinations or exemption status. For those with an exemption, records must be kept of all testing. These records are subject to all applicable privacy laws and must be kept confidential.