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Controversial as the move might be, more states are requiring healthcare workers (HCWs) to get vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2. Often, the deadline gives those workers at least weeks to comply, while some rules offer the option of submitting to regular COVID-19 tests instead. At least one state, though, appears to have a mandate that leaves a gaping hole in the effort. As reported in the Portland Press Herald, many HCWs whose employer is not affiliated with a hospital or other facility—including unaffiliated urgent care centers and private physician practices—are exempt from the state’s emergency rule to get the shot by October 1. The key phrase written into the rule is designated healthcare facilities, which in Maine applies to any licensed nursing facility, residential care facility, hospital or home health agency—but not individual practices or chains. The article notes that roughly 20% of the state’s medical practices are considered independent under the law. Also noteworthy: The absence of a state mandate does not preclude urgent care operators from requiring staff to get vaccinated, submit to regular testing, or follow procedures to protect themselves, co-workers, and patients from infection.

Think Your State Requires COVID-19 Vaccination for Your Team? You Might Need to Think Again