Effective October 18, 2021, health care workers and staff working in a health care setting must present documentation that they are fully vaccinated or that they are entitled to an exemption. A COVID-19 vaccination card or digital photo meets the rules requirements for proving an individual is fully vaccinated.
A complete copy of the rule can be found here:
OHA has released the forms that the medical and religious exemptions must be documented on.
Employees that are requesting a medical exemption must have the OHA form filled out and signed by a medical provider. For the religious exemption, employees will fill It out and include “a statement describing the way in which the vaccination requirement conflicts with the religious observance, practice, or belief of the individual.”
Once an employee establishes that they are entitled to an exemption the rule is vague. The rule states that health care entities “must take reasonable steps to ensure that unvaccinated healthcare providers and healthcare staff are protected from contracting and spreading COVID-19.” The interpretation we are seeing is that means employees that can establish an exemption cannot work directly with patients. Our recommendation is to speak with an employment attorney before you deny an exemption request or place an individual on leave. If you do not have an employment attorney you work with, please reach out to our office for a referral.
The proof of vaccine and documentation regarding exemptions must be kept for at least two years and needs to be available to be presented to OHA if requested.
If any additional guidance is released, we will release it as soon as possible.