Skip Navigation LinksOrder-of-the-SPHO-Correctional-Facilities-and-Detention-Centers-Health-Care-Worker-Vaccination-Order-8-19-2021

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State of California—Health and Human Services Agency
California Department of Public Health

August 19, 2021

All Californians

State and Local Correctional Facilities and Detention Centers Health Care Worker Vaccination Requirement

​​This state health officer order is no longer in effect and is for historical purposes only.

​State Public Health Officer Order of August 19, 2021 

I, as State Public Health Officer of the State of California, order:

1. All individuals in section (2) below must have their first dose of a one-dose regimen or their second dose of a two-dose regimen by October 14, 2021:

a. Two-dose vaccines include: Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna or vaccine authorized by the World Health Organization. The one-dose vaccine is: Johnson and Johnson [J&J]/Janssen. All COVID-19 vaccines that are currently authorized for emergency use can be found at the following links:

i. By the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), are listed at the FDA COVID-19 Vaccines webpage.

ii. By the World Health Organization (WHO), are listed at the WHO COVID-19 Vaccines webpage

2. The following workers are subject to the requirements of this Order:

a. All paid and unpaid individuals who are regularly assigned to provide health care or health care services to inmates, prisoners, or detainees. This may include nurses, nursing assistants, nurse practitioners, physicians, physician assistants, technicians, therapists, phlebotomists, pharmacists, mental health providers, students and trainees, dietary, and contractual staff not employed by the correctional facility or detention center.

b. All paid and unpaid individuals who are regularly assigned to work within hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, intermediate care facilities, or the equivalent that are integrated into the correctional facility or detention center in areas where health care is provided. This includes workers providing health care to inmates, prisoners, and detainees, as well as persons not directly involved in delivering health care, but who could be exposed to infectious agents that can be transmitted in the health care setting (e.g., clerical, dietary, janitorial services, laundry, correctional officers, facilities maintenance staff, administrative, inmate workers, and volunteer personnel). 

3. Workers in section (2) may be exempt from the vaccination requirements under section (1) only upon providing the operator of the correctional facility or detention center a declination form, signed by the individual stating either of the following: (1) the worker is declining vaccination based on religious beliefs, or (2) the worker is excused from receiving any COVID-19 vaccine due to Qualifying Medical Reasons. 

a. To be eligible for a Qualified Medical Reasons exemption the worker must also provide to their employer a written statement signed by a physician, nurse practitioner, or other licensed medical professional practicing under the license of a physician stating that the individual qualifies for the exemption (but the statement should not describe the underlying medical condition or disability) and indicating the probable duration of the worker's inability to receive the vaccine (or if the duration is unknown or permanent, so indicate).

4. If an operator of a correctional facility or detention center deems a worker to have met the requirements of an exemption pursuant to section (3), the unvaccinated exempt worker must meet the following requirements when entering or working in such facility:

a. Test for COVID-19 with either PCR or antigen test that either has Emergency Use Authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or be operating per the Laboratory Developed Test requirements by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Testing must occur twice weekly for unvaccinated exempt workers in acute health care and long-term care settings, and once weekly for such workers in other health care settings.

b. Wear a surgical mask or higher-level respirator approved by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), such as an N95 filtering facepiece respirator, at all times while in the facility.

5. Consistent with applicable privacy laws and regulations, the operator of the correctional facility or detention center must maintain records of workers' vaccination or exemption status. If the worker is exempt pursuant to section (3), the operator of the correctional facility or detention center then also must maintain records of the workers' testing results pursuant to section (4).

a. The correctional facility or detention center must provide such records to the local or state Public Health Officer or their designee promptly upon request, and in any event no later than the next business day after receiving the request.

b. Operators of correctional facility or detention center facilities subject to this Order must maintain records pursuant to the CDPH Guidance for Vaccine Records Guidelines & Standards with the following information: (1) full name and date of birth; (2) vaccine manufacturer; and (3) date of vaccine administration (for first dose and, if applicable, second dose).

c. For unvaccinated workers: signed declination forms with written health care provider's statement where applicable, as described in section (3) above. Testing records pursuant to section (3) must be maintained.

6. Nothing in this Order limits otherwise applicable requirements related to Personal Protective Equipment, personnel training, and infection control policies and practices.

7. Facilities covered by this Order are encouraged to provide onsite vaccinations, easy access to nearby vaccinations, and education and outreach on vaccinations, including:

a. access to epidemiologists, physicians, and other counselors who can answer questions or concerns related to vaccinations and provide culturally sensitive advice; and

b. access to online resources providing up to date information on COVID-19 science and research.

8. The July 26 Public Health Order will continue to apply.

9. This Order shall take effect on August 19, 2021, and facilities must be in full compliance with the Order by October 14, 2021.

10. This Order is issued pursuant to Health and Safety Code sections 120125, 120140, 120175,120195 and 131080 and other applicable law.

Tomas Aragon Signature

Tomás J. Aragón, MD, DrPH

Director and State Public Health Officer

California Department of Public Health