State-Local-Correctional-Facilities-Detention-Centers-Health-Care-Worker-Vaccination-Req-Order-FAQ-09-15-2021 Public Health Order Questions & Answers: State and Local Correctional Facilities and Detention Centers Health Care Worker Vaccination Requirement

​​​This Q&A is no longer in effect and is for historical purposes only.

Public Health Order Questions & Answers: State and Local Correctional Facilities and Detention Centers Health Care Worker Vaccination Requirement

When does the Order take effect?

The Order went into effect August 19, 2021.

Does a worker need to be fully vaccinated by October 14, 2021?

No. They must have either their first dose of a one-dose regimen or their second dose of a two-dose regimen by October 14, 2021. Workers are not considered fully vaccinated until two weeks after completing the full vaccine regimen.

Will the July 26 Public Health Order continue to apply?

Yes.  The July 26 Public Health Order for Health Care Worker Protections in High-Risk Settings requiring all unvaccinated workers to be tested weekly remains in effect and applies to any worker not subject to the August 19 Public Health Order.

Enforcement and Verification

How will you verify workers are vaccinated or tested?

Each facility will be required to verify and keep record of vaccination status or test results. Pursuant to the CDPH Guidance for Vaccine Records Guidelines & Standards, facilities have multiple options to verify vaccine status.

Can a worker opt to regularly test instead of getting vaccinated?

No. For workers covered by this Order, testing will be an alternate means for satisfying this Order only for those who qualify for an exemption pursuant to the Order.

Are there any exemptions to the vaccination mandate?

The Order allows for two exemptions: (1) the worker is declining vaccination based on sincerely held religious beliefs or (2) the worker is excused from receiving any COVID-19 vaccine due to Qualifying Medical Reasons. To receive an exemption, a worker must participate in their employer's interactive process.

What are Qualifying Medical Reasons?

To determine qualifying medical reasons, the physician, nurse practitioner, or other licensed medical professional practicing under the license of a physician should refer to guidelines from the CDC, Clinical considerations, as well as, COVID-19 vaccine Contraindications and Precautions which also includes:

  • Documented history of severe allergic reaction to one or more components of all the COVID-19 vaccines available in the U.S.
  • Documented history of severe or immediate-type hypersensitivity allergic reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine, along with a reason why you cannot be vaccinated with one of the other available formulations.

Additionally, the linked reference above provides information on what are neither contraindications nor precautions to COVID-19 vaccination, which include:

  • Allergic reactions (including severe allergic reactions) not related to vaccines (COVID-19 or other vaccines) or injectable therapies, such as allergic reactions related to food, pets, venom, or environmental allergies, or allergies to oral medications.

Will CDPH be providing a template declination / exemption form for use?

No, CDPH will not be providing a template declination/exemption form for use.  Facilities may use any existing form or process previously used for other mandated vaccines, or any process to ensure that the requirements as stated in the Order are met, including for a written health care provider's statement where applicable, and testing records pursuant to section (3) of the Order. 

Who is authorized to provide a Qualified Medical Reason exempting a worker from the COVID-19 vaccine requirements?

Only a physician, nurse practitioner, or other licensed medical professional practicing under the license of a physician can provide a Qualified Medical Reasons exemption. In this context, the term "physician" refers specifically to an individual having a valid certificate or license to practice medicine and surgery issued by the Medical Board of California or the Osteopathic Medical Board of California.

Who is responsible for enforcement of the requirements under this Order?

Each covered facility is required under the Order to enforce the vaccine mandate and testing requirements of their respective staff (including any staff that may come from a contracted staffing agency).

To the extent that the covered facilities are subject to state regulation, the state's regulating entities will ensure each facility is meeting the requirements for vaccine verification/exemptions. Local health jurisdictions may also enforce the orders with respect to local facilities.

What should a facility do if they suspect a fraudulent vaccine card is being presented as proof?

Facilities should work with their legal counsel, and may report suspected cases of healthcare fraud to the federal Health and Human Service through their website or through their tip line at 1-800-HHS-TIPS


Which tests qualify for workers that have a valid exemption? (e.g., point of care tests, rapid tests, community testing sites). Do tests need to be approved by the FDA?

Antigen, PCR, or any Nucleic acid amplification (NAAT) test would qualify and must either have 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.

Covered Facilities and Employees  

Does the State Public Health Officer Order of August 19, 2021, include workers that conduct autopsy?

Coroner's offices and those conducting autopsy would not be considered health care workers for purposes of this Order but are covered under the July 26 Order as a covered worker in a correctional facility. However, CDPH strongly recommends all eligible staff to be vaccinated.   

Does this apply to all correctional staff or just the medical staff?

Covered staff includes workers providing health care to inmates, prisoners, and detainees. In correctional hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, intermediate care facilities, or the equivalent, it also applies to 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). 

Does the Order only apply to correctional facilities that have integrated hospitals, skilled nursing facilities or intermediate care facilities, or does the Order also apply to correctional and detention facilities that have clinics or provide other healthcare services (that don't fall into the category of hospital, skilled nursing or intermediate care)?

The Order applies to  (1) all paid or unpaid workers who provide healthcare or healthcare services to inmates, which would include healthcare services in a clinic setting or any other healthcare setting, and (2) all workers 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.