Employees with the City of Sacramento say the city is moving forward with a vaccine passport system/database for all city employees.
A memo dated June 28, 2021 from Labor Relations Manager Aaron Donato, was issued to City employees:
“Effective immediately, fully vaccinated employees who voluntarily provide the City with a narrowly defined medical release authorization and a record of their vaccination status using the City’s online submission form will not be required to wear a face covering,” the memo says noting:
- An employee’s submission of their vaccination status is voluntary.
- Unvaccinated employees and employees who have not submitted voluntary proof of vaccination are required to wear face coverings.
- Release authorizations and proof of vaccination will be treated as secure confidential documents, in accordance with local, state, and federal regulations/laws.
- Vaccinated employees may still choose to wear face coverings without fear of retaliation.
This is not necessarily voluntary, and really is a false choice. It’s not “voluntary” if an employee doesn’t want to show a vaccine passport, but is forced to wear a mask. And it’s not secure and confidential if those who don’t comply are ordered to wear masks.
The Globe learned from City Hall employees who asked to remain anonymous that multiple times at meetings employees say they are coerced by management to turn in their “vaccine status” to the safety department so they can be “verified,” and “walk around city hall mask free.”
“Without it, we’ll be tagged with wearing the mask of shame,” an employee said.
If this was really about health, the city would handle this very differently, as well as privately.
The Globe contacted Mr. Donato to ask about the policy decision. Donato said he he’s not authorized to speak to the press, and referred us to Tim Swanson, Media & Communications Manager for the City of Sacramento.
Here’s what I asked him:
With all of the scientific research available about masks not preventing the spread of this virus or any other, why is the city requiring unvaccinated employees to be masked?
Has the city asked employees for proof of antibodies if they had COVID, if the city is concerned about the spread? What about all of the people testing positive for COVID who were already vaccinated? Of the nine State Capitol staffers who just tested positive for COVID, half were already vaccinated. And they were masked in their offices inside the Capitol, which is limiting members of the public to visit.
Aren’t employees being singled out and marked with a scarlet letter if forced to wear a mask, regardless of their health status?
Lastly, CalOSHA is an occupational health and safety agency, not public health medical professionals. Why would the City choose to quote CalOSHA “guidelines” rather than the CDC?
And what about herd immunity? Many practicing physicians say we’ve already reached herd immunity, with the 60.2% of Californians vaccinated, combined with the rest of the population who were exposed to the virus, or already had and recovered from COVID.
We did not hear from the City of Sacramento media manager by close of business, but the Globe will report back if/when we do hear back. The letter to employees is embedded below.
It’s notable that Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) introduced legislation to Congress in late April to prohibit federal agencies from creating so-called “vaccination passports” across the United States. The Globe reported in April on a bill to-be-authored by Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R-Rocklin) to prevent vaccine passports from being issued or created by any level of government in the state.
Many other states have prohibited vaccine passports.
Ballotpedia explains: “Nineteen states, all with Republican governors, prohibit proof-of-vaccination requirements. In eleven states, governors banned proof-of-vaccination requirements through executive orders. In eight states, legislators passed laws banning proof-of-vaccination requirements.”
“Four states—California, New York, Hawaii, and Oregon—have facilitated the creation of digital vaccination status applications or exempt fully vaccinated individuals from some COVID-19 restrictions if they can provide proof of vaccination. All four states have Democratic governors.”2021.06.28(Memo_to_Employees_Vaccine_Certification)(COVID-19)