Arkansas panel approves health agencies’ request to enforce vaccine rule | Arkansas Business News

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas lawmakers on Friday paved the way for state-run health care facilities to require employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 after officials warned that blocking the move would put in jeopardize more than $700 million in federal funding.

The Arkansas Legislative Council has effectively approved the University of Arkansas’ request for medical sciences, the Department of Human Services, and the Department of Veterans Affairs to comply with the federal vaccine requirement.

The panel chair declared the requests considered without any member voting to block the move.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court cleared the federal vaccine requirement for healthcare workers, on the same day it blocked another rule that would have required workers at big corporations to getting vaccinated or facing regular COVID testing requirements.

The requirement conflicts with an enacted Arkansas law prohibiting COVID-19 vaccine mandates by government entities. But that law allows state-run medical facilities to seek exemptions from the council, the legislature’s main governing body when lawmakers are not in session.

In November, the council delayed considering the agencies’ requests after lawmakers said they wanted to see how the courts would decide.

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