AUGUSTA, Maine — Those who work in the dental or emergency services fields will not be required to get vaccinated against COVID-19 under Maine's vaccine mandate for health care workers.
This doesn't mean EMS workers are not subject to a COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Maine Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew said the state removed EMS workers from its rules to avoid confusion because the EMS bureau already has its own COVID-19 vaccine requirement in place.
Lambrew said dental workers were left out after health officials reviewed data and heard some other comments.
The state published the final version of the rules earlier this week, adding COVID-19 to the list of vaccines already required for certain health care workers.
As of the end of October, almost 98% of health care workers in Maine were vaccinated against COVID-19.
Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to stop mandating COVID-19 vaccines for Maine health workers.
It was the first time the Supreme Court weighed in on a statewide vaccine mandate.
The court previously rejected challenges of vaccine requirements for New York City teachers and Indiana University staff and students.
Public sector employers in Maine will also be subject to a vaccine mandate under the Emergency Temporary Standard from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which goes into effect on January 4, 2022.
The ETS said employers with 100 or more workers must require employees to either get the COVID-19 vaccine or get regular testing and wear a mask at work.
Maine is one of 26 states that follows a "state plan," meaning it is required to adopt and enforce for public employers all of OSHA's occupational safety and health standards. Maine is also one of 26 states and two territories to have a state plan agreement with the federal government.
The public sector employees include state, county, or local government employees, as well as educators and school staff, according to Maine's Department of Labor.