San Francisco city employees have one month to comply with a new city order to be vaccinated against COVID-19 beginning to day.
According to the order, which was released last week and subsequently polarized workers for the the city of San Francisco, city employees must report their vaccination status to the city by July 29th and provide documentation if they have been vaccinated or partially vaccinated. All employees also must be fully vaccinated no later than 10 weeks after FDA approval of one of the COVID-19 vaccines. To date, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, and Pfizer-BioNtech have only been given emergency use authorization.
If city workers choose not to follow the new order, they can be disciplined or fired for their actions.
The city’s new policy summarily affects around 35,000 San Francisco employees, including city hall workers, firefighters, and members of the San Francisco Police Department.
However, many public employees in San Francisco have ways to get out of the now mandatory vaccinations. City-level public workers attached to districts rather than the city itself, such as teachers, are not affected by the order. Employees with medical conditions or religious beliefs can also receive exemptions from the city. All information given will also be protected.
However, with 55% of city employees partially vaccinated, 5% not vaccinated, and around 40% with unknown vaccination status, the order will affect thousands, potentially over ten thousand, employees. In the city, 81% of people 12 and up are currently at least partially vaccinated against COVID-19, with 73% fully vaccinated.
Mandatory reporting of vaccination status, mandatory vaccinations
San Francisco health officials announced the mandatory vaccination measures last week primarily to combat continued risks that COVID-19m poses, especially new variants such as the delta variant that is currently spreading across several continents.
“According to the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the California Department of Public Health, and the San Francisco County Health Officer, COVID-19 continues to pose a risk, especially to individuals who are not fully vaccinated, and certain safety measures remain necessary to protect against COVID-19 cases and deaths,” said the city in a statement. “Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent transmission and limit COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths.”
However, the mandatory nature of the order has put many groups up in arms over the order noting it violates health and personal rights.
“A lot of people remain very unsure of the vaccines, even if approved by the FDA,” explained an unnamed nurse in San Francisco to the Globe on Monday. “This isn’t an anti-vaxxer argument or not wanting to take it out of spite or anything like that. There are a lot of side effects that many are concerned with. I have done a lot of follow ups with patients and they have noted that some can take days to get back to normal after taking it, while in others it is only hours. And for it being days? That’s a lot of time off work or watching kids, or other important duties that they can’t risk. And that’s not even going into associated health issues and possible HIPAA issues.”
“If you can get it, get it. But we can’t force this on people, especially by threatening their jobs.”
“But then again, that’s what the city is now essentially doing now to thousands of people.”
While individual businesses and healthcare centers have put measures into place to encourage or demand vaccinations before coming back to work across the country, San Francisco has become the first city to set the a mandatory vaccination policy for all city employees.
More California cities are likely to follow San Francisco’s mandatory vaccination employment requirements in the coming weeks, while others are expressing interest at enacting such a policy.
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