The latest COVID-19 surge driven by the Delta variant has caused many employers — not the least of which are health care employers — to revisit mandatory vaccine requirements for employees.  While many health care systems around the country already have mandated that their employees be vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of employment, a decades-old statute has stood in the way of Oregon health care employers from doing so.  Today, August 4, 2021, Governor Brown announced a new rule requiring weekly COVID-19 testing for employees in health care settings, which can be waived with proof of COVID-19 vaccination.  In other words, Oregon health care workers have a choice of either becoming fully vaccinated or testing weekly for COVID-19.

The new rule follows recent announcements by multiple (and many of the largest) Oregon health care systems that they will require mandatory COVID-19 vaccines for their staff and others working onsite.  The Oregon Health Authority is expected to issue formal rules this week, which are expected to go into effect September 30, to give unvaccinated employees time to get the vaccine. The Oregon Legislature also is expected to address the issue during the 2022 legislative session.

If you have any questions about the Governor’s new safety measure or COVID-19 vaccination policies, please contact us.