Alabama Law about Vaccines

This legislative response comes on top of a petition filed by Alabama, Florida and Georgia in the Eleventh Circuit challenging OSHA`s recent Temporary Emergency Standard (ETS) (the so-called federal immunization mandate) on the grounds that it shows contempt for constitutional rights. This case, State of Florida, et al. v. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, case number 21-13866, is pending before the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. On Saturday, November 6, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit temporarily ordered the application of the ETS. The various appeals to the federal courts are expected to be consolidated into a single decision in the coming weeks. Unless and until employers receive clarification of their various obligations under federal and potentially conflicting state laws, companies with Alabama employees are advised to consult with counsel when navigating various COVID-19 vaccine mandates. SUPPLIERS A map of vaccine supplier locations can be found in the Vaccine Suppliers tab of the Alabama COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Dashboard. Find a COVID-19 vaccination clinic near you by sending your postal code to 438829 or visiting www.vaccines.gov/ federal retail pharmacy program As of February 11, 2021, vaccines are available in select pharmacy chains and independent pharmacy networks nationwide as part of a federal program. Independent pharmacy networks include Good Neighbor and Health Mart pharmacies.

Check your pharmacy`s website to see if the vaccine is available. Vaccines provided through this federal public-private partnership go directly to partner pharmacies and are not part of the vaccine allocation in Alabama. Pfizer and Moderna`s COVID-19 vaccines are approved for these six months or more. Johnson & Johnson vaccines are approved for adults 18 years of age and older, but are only recommended in certain situations. In short, here`s what you need to know about the required process: Alabama law, which went into effect immediately, requires employers who require COVID-19 vaccines to give workers the opportunity to apply for an exemption, and prohibits employers from firing anyone who makes that request for a period of time during the review and/or rejection of an exemption application. and, in the event of rejection, possibly an appeal to the State. In particular, the law provides that employers: In particular, the law prohibits employers from requiring an employee to receive a COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of employment, unless the employee has the opportunity to be exempted from vaccination for religious or medical reasons. (The law doesn`t address an employer`s ability to require weekly testing for COVID-19, which is an option for large employers under the OSHA rule.) The law explicitly states: “The employer must assess the application and generously interpret the employee`s right to the exemption in favour of the employee” and “[t]he presentation of the completed form gives rise to a presumption that the employee is entitled to the exemption.” Under this state law, any employer who needs vaccinations must give employees access to a universal exemption application form.

Finally, in accordance with the law, the Alabama Department of Labor (ADOL) has now established procedures for an employee to appeal any denial of an exemption to an administrative judge. ADOL`s exemption form, poster, and appeal portal can be found here: vaxexemption.alabama.gov/ Alabama Governor Kay Ivey was not afraid to speak out against vaccination warrants, whether or not that opposition was contrary to federal law. In another law aimed at strengthening her opposition, she signed Senate Bill 9 (“SB 9”) on November 5, 2021, which strengthens the right of an Alabama employee to apply for an exemption from any COVID-19 vaccination requirements. The law came into force immediately and expires on May 1, 2023. It applies to all employers in Alabama. “Our biggest weapon against COVID-19 is the vaccine, so if you can, roll up your sleeves and get vaccinated,” said Governor Kay Ivey. The free COVID-19 vaccine is widely available in Alabama at 1,450 locations, including retail pharmacies. Each county in Alabama has multiple suppliers. To find a COVID-19 vaccination clinic near you, send your zip code to 438829 or visit www.vaccines.gov/ Given the current suspensions of federal regulations for health care providers and large employers, these employers should focus on complying with this new state law as they impose vaccines for workers. If the suspensions are lifted, it will be crucial that employers take care to comply with all laws as much as possible, with a focus on compliance with federal laws. Of course, this is not an easy task, and we are here to help.

We will continue to monitor the status of federal warrants and court challenges and keep you informed if the status changes. What are the restrictions for employers if they refuse an exception? “I have been receiving monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma for 90 days as part of treatment for COVID-19.” In addition, a federal court in Missouri on Monday blocked the CMS rule from going into effect for health care workers in 10 states. Then, just yesterday, a Louisiana federal court blocked the enactment of the CMS rule for medical professionals in other states, causing the nationwide reprieve. The CMS rule will now follow a similar evolution to OSHA`s, but will be suspended until a final decision is made. CMS has already appealed the injunction in the Missouri case, and we plan to appeal Louisiana`s decision soon. As a result, there is some uncertainty as to whether the injunctions will continue. Meanwhile, the best plan for health care employers is to continue working as if the mandate remains in place. Courts of appeal are likely to rule quickly given the upcoming deadlines in the CMS rule, and if the suspension is lifted, employers must be prepared to comply with it.

At present, the only federal vaccination mandate that remains in effect in Alabama is the one that covers federal contractors/contractors. On November 5, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed SB 9, which prevents Alabama employers from requiring COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of employment. Ivey announced, “As long as I am your governor, the state of Alabama will not force anyone to take the COVID-19 vaccine. “I have a blood clotting disorder or I am taking an anticoagulant. The Alabama State Department of Health said that nearly 70 percent of the state, or 3.5 million Alabamians, must be fully vaccinated or have antibodies from previous infections for the state to reach a level of immunity that stops the spread of COVID in our state. As of August 4, more than 2.4 million Alabama residents had been fully vaccinated and more than 2.9 million had received at least one dose of vaccine. The LOL Emergency Rule also created a vaccine exemption portal through which employees and employers must submit relevant documents for the appointment of an employee. The Vaccine Exemption Portal also includes the state-approved vaccine exemption application form and a mandatory state-approved notice of the employee`s rights to appeal in the event of a rejection of the application. All Alabama employers who require COVID-19 vaccines must allow their employees to apply for an exemption for medical reasons or sincere religious beliefs under Alabama law that went into effect on November 5, 2021. This law expires on 1 May 2023. The new law also requires the state Ministry of Labor to adopt an emergency rule within 21 days that approves a procedure for employees to challenge the rejection of a placement application to an administrative judge (ALJ) of the Ministry of Labor and provides for an appeal against the ALJ`s decision. We expect further action to be taken and for employers to be kept informed of relevant developments.

The key findings of the Emergency Rule and Vaccine Exemption Portal are: “Receiving the COVID-19 vaccine is contrary to my sincere religious beliefs, practices or customs. The information contained in this publication is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinions, nor does it replace the professional judgment of a lawyer. The Centers for Disease Control recommends that all people 6 months of age and older receive their primary series of COVID-19 vaccines, and anyone 5 years of age and older will also receive a booster shot, if eligible. In July, the CDC approved the use of the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine, a two-dose protein-based primary series given 3 to 8 weeks apart for people 18 years of age and older. Starting Tuesday, Aug. 9, the Novavax vaccine will be available in Alabama, the Alabama Department of Public Health announced. “I am severely immunocompromised, so the COVID-19 vaccine poses a risk to my health. An employer who has rejected an employee`s request for exemption “cannot dismiss the employee because he or she has not received a vaccine for a period of 7 calendar days after the rejection.

or if an appeal has been lodged until the administrative judge or the court makes a final decision in favour of the employer”. The “employer must compensate an employee whose claim has been rejected” for the seven-day period following the rejection and while awaiting an appeal. With the signing of SB9, employers must act quickly to ensure that their policies and procedures are in place for employees who wish to submit an exemption form and that employers comply with SB9 when assessing vaccine exemption applications. Please contact Michael Turner or a member of the Phelps Work and Employment Team if you have any questions or need advice and guidance on compliance. For more information on COVID-19, visit Phelps` COVID-19 Client Resource Portal.