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U.S. Government Rolls Back Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements

    Client Alerts
  • May 04, 2023

On May 1, the White House announced that it will end the COVID-19 vaccine requirements for federal employees, federal contractors, and international air travelers at the end of the day on May 11. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the same end date for COVID-19 vaccine requirements for non-U.S. travelers entering the United States on land or via ferry terminals. Additionally, the Department of Health and Human Services announced it will start the process to end its vaccination requirements for Head Start educators and health care facilities certified by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The Biden administration announced the rescission of those requirements in conjunction with the formal end of the COVID-19 public health emergency, occurring at the end of the day on May 11.

The announcements end nearly two years of changing vaccine requirements tied to COVID-19. On September 9, 2021, President Biden issued an executive order requiring all federal employees and contractors to be vaccinated against COVID-19. On November 4, 2021, CMS announced vaccine requirements for – among other places – covered Medicare and Medicaid-certified facilities. On November 8. 2021, the administration imposed the COVID-19 vaccination requirement for noncitizen, nonimmigrants entering the U.S. by air, requirements that DHS later enacted in January 2022 at land and ferry ports of entry.

While the rescission of the vaccination requirements will likely moot the current litigation that is going on across the country, it is possible that a court could retain jurisdiction if the court believes that this matter meets a limited mootness exception: being capable of repetition, yet evading review. We will continue to monitor the national litigation and further guidance from the White House.