On August 30, 2021, the Colorado State Board of Health approved emergency rules requiring licensed healthcare facilities to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine for all personnel interacting with patients. The Board cited that 30% of healthcare workers remain unvaccinated and that ensuring all healthcare workers are vaccinated is an effective way to protect public health and end the COVID-19 pandemic. Covered employees must have their first vaccine by September 30 and their second dose, if required, by October 31.
The mandate covers all healthcare facilities listed in Colorado Revised Statute 25-1. 5-103(1)(a)(1), which includes, among many others, eligible general hospitals, nursing home facilities, assisted care facilities, community clinics, ambulatory surgical centers, and psychiatric hospitals. Notably, the Board does not have authority over individual health care practitioners or staff, primary care offices, or urgent care locations.
As part of the Board’s mandate, covered healthcare centers must create a policy and procedure to ensure compliance, including a list of those employees who are exempt, criteria for accepting or rejecting medical and religious accommodations, and an explanation of how the facility will protect against unvaccinated individuals, including testing and masking requirements.
The Board’s mandate follows other state-wide mandates, including the State of Colorado’s requirement that all employees in 24/7 facilities be vaccinated and require that all State employees who do not verify their vaccination status by September 20 undergo twice-weekly testing.