By emergency rule, the District of Columbia is mandating vaccinations against COVID-19 for health professionals who are licensed, registered, or certified by the Department of Health, which includes massage therapists, as well as unlicensed personnel in a Healthcare setting (“Unlicensed individual” is defined as the staff in the office). The emergency rulemaking was adopted on and became effective August 23, 2021.
The rule requires massage therapists to receive the first dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine or the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on or before September 30, 2021, and to receive the second dose within the established dosing schedule. Or they can receive the single dose of the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine on or before September 30, 2021.
Health-care providers including massage therapists and staff can attest to having received the first dose of the vaccine here. The attestation requires some demographic information and the dates of the vaccine or appointments.
A massage therapist may be exempt from the emergency rule if:
- The person objects in good faith and in writing that the person’s vaccination against COVID-19 would violate a sincerely held religious belief and the vaccination would in fact violate a sincerely held religious belief of the person. This exemption requires a letter from the individual attesting to a closely held religious belief that would prevent a vaccination, what that belief is, and how it prevents the vaccination.
- The person has obtained and submitted written certification from a physician, or other licensed health professional who may order an immunization, that being vaccinated against COVID-19 is medically inadvisable due to the person’s medical condition. This exemption requires a letter from a doctor or practitioner stating the reason why it is inadvisable for the individual to receive the vaccine.
- The person has been vaccinated outside of the country with a vaccine other than the three available in the United States. This exemption is remedied by going to the vaccination reporting website and inputting information about the vaccine that was received.
If you want to file an exemption, contact the director of the District of Columbia Department of Health. Exemption requests must be filed by September 30, 2021.
Massage therapists who fail to comply with this emergency rule will be subject to disciplinary action, which may include a civil fine, criminal action, or license revocation, suspension, or non-renewal.
There has been some confusion on whether the CEs requirement issued by the Department of Health pertains to massage therapists. Massage therapists are not required to take the COVID Vaccine CE required of other health-care professionals in the District of Columbia.