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COVID-19 vaccine mandate kicks in for healthcare workers in 25 states, D.C.

COVID-19 vaccine mandate kicks in for healthcare workers in 25 states, D.C.
Dr. Alex Garza, Incident commander for the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force, administers a COVID-19 vaccine to nurse Marilyn Shaw at SSM Health St. Mary's Hospital in Richmond Heights, Mo., in 2020. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 earlier this month to uphold the White House vaccine mandate for healthcare workers. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 27 (UPI) -- Healthcare staff at all facilities and providers certified under Medicare and Medicaid must have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine starting Thursday.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 earlier this month to uphold the White House vaccine mandate for healthcare workers. Workers in 25 states and the District of Columbia must prove they've been vaccination and will have another month to get their second shot.

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Healthcare workers in every other state but Texas will have until Feb. 14 to get their first shot. Texas healthcare workers will have to get their first shot by Feb. 22.

Rick Pollack, president and CEO of the American Hospital Association, said after the Supreme Court ruling on Jan. 13 that it is urging all of its members to get a vaccine.

"The pandemic has been frustrating, exhausting and heartbreaking," Pollack said in a statement then. "The COVID-19 vaccines have been a ray of light because they greatly decrease the chances of contracting COVID-19, becoming severely sick, being hospitalized or dying."

The mandate could challenge overwhelmed and understaffed hospitals facing an onslaught of patients suffering from the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

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