AdventHealth suspends its COVID-19 vaccine mandate for staff — here’s why

AdventHealth vaccine mandate

AdventHealth has suspended its employee vaccine mandate following a federal judge's decision to block the Biden administration's rule requiring the COVID-19 vaccine for health care workers. An AdventHealth spokesperson said 87% of local AdventHealth staff are already fully vaccinated. File photo.

AdventHealth has announced it is suspending its requirement that employees get vaccinated against COVID-19, following a federal judge’s ruling temporarily blocking a vaccine mandate for health care workers.

Morgan Shandler, a spokesperson for AdventHealth Shawnee Mission, confirmed with the Post that the company’s requirement is suspended as a result of the judge’s decision on Tuesday, Nov. 30.

“Due to recent decisions by the federal courts to block the CMS vaccine mandate, we are suspending the vaccination requirements prescribed by this mandate,” Shandler told the Post via email. “We will continue to monitor the ongoing litigation regarding the federal law.”

All of AdventHealth’s Johnson County facilities, including the Shawnee Mission campus in Merriam, along with hospitals in Lenexa and south Overland Park, are impacted by the policy change.

Shandler said 87% of local AdventHealth employees are already fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Judge’s ruling

At the end of November, a federal judge in Missouri temporarily blocked the Biden administration’s rule, issued through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, requiring a range of health care workers to be fully vaccinated.

The rule requires health care workers in “15 categories of facilities” to be fully vaccinated, CBS News reports.

Officials in ten states, including Kansas and Missouri, had sued to challenge the rule.

U.S. District Judge Matthew Schelp at the federal district court in St. Louis found the Biden administration overstepped its authority when it issued the rule.

Schlep found there was no clear  and necessary authorization for the CMS rule from Congress. The ruling blocks the Biden administration from enforcing the rule while the case continues.

The rule had required health care workers to get their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Monday, Dec. 6, and to be fully vaccinated by Jan. 4.

Although AdventHealth’s vaccine requirement for employees is now suspended, Shandler said AdventHealth still strongly encourages staff — along with patients and the community — to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

“Based on scientific evidence and what we see in our hospitals every day, COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective at reducing the risk of becoming infected and the level of harm in the case of a breakthrough infection,” Shandler told the Post via email.