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States Respond to COVID-19: Va., W.Va. Request Vaccine Rule Waiver

In January, Govs. Glenn Youngkin (R) of Virginia and Jim Justice (R) of West Virginia sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) requesting a limited waiver on the vaccine rule for health care staff.

The governors cite strained health care workforce and staffing crises as reasons for requesting relief from the mandate. While both states are seeing a downturn in cases after the omicron wave, Youngkin and Justice noted concern about long-term impacts on quality of care if thousands of their health care staff are unable to work.

In their letter, the governors ask for a limited waiver to the interim rule for rural and state-run facilities in a state of crisis. They note this relief could take multiple forms, including broader conscience exemptions, flexibility on enforcement, or simply a six-month delay of the rule.

Visit the America’s Essential Hospitals coronavirus resource page for more information about the pandemic.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at or 202.585.0127 with questions.


About the Author

Abigail Painchaud is a policy associate at America's Essential Hospitals.

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