San Francisco, CA

San Francisco: COVID-19 vaccinations for all city workers

Rahul Barman

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The city of San Francisco announced that all of its 35,000 employees have to be vaccinated or they could lose their jobs.

This new policy will make the city of San Francisco the first major city to make it mandatory for all its employees to have COVID-19 vaccination. Workers who refuse or fail to provide any medical or religious exemption for vaccination may get terminated.

The mandatory vaccination requirement will come into effect after the Food and Drug Administration approves of the vaccines. The policy will cover all the city government officials, including police, firefighters, custodians, and City Hall clerks. Teachers are not covered in this policy because they come under district employees. Earlier, San Francisco mandated that front-line workers in hospitals, nursing homes, and jails be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

"It's really a decision for the health and safety of our employees and our public that we serve," Carol Isen, San Francisco's director of human resources, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

Isen said, all the employees under the policy will have until July 29 to report their vaccination status to the city as a condition for their employment. The employees will need to upload their vaccination documents, or documents showing proof of vaccination through the city's payroll system. medical exemption for patients who are ineligible for vaccination must be verified by a healthcare worker. Religious exemptions will also be considered.

The three COVID-19 vaccines used in the U.S. have emergency use authorization from the FDA. Once the shots are fully approved, San Francisco city workers will have 10 weeks to provide proof of vaccination. Pfizer-BioNTech submitted its application to the FDA on May 7 and Moderna submitted it on June 1. Health experts are expecting full approval for at least one of the vaccines by the fall.

Some people are against this policy saying this could have great risks for the frontline workers. Theresa Rutherford, regional vice president of the Service Employees International Union Local 1021 chapter, said that the union's leaders "support all efforts to protect employees against this deadly virus through the use of PPE, social distancing, disinfecting and effective ventilation, however, we do not support a threatening mandate."

More than half of the total workers that the city and county of San Francisco employs are represented by The Service Employees International Union Local 1021 chapter. Rutherford said if the vaccination policies are implemented, the workers' cultural, religious and health factors must be taken into account.

At the moment the county of Los Angeles is not planning to follow San Francisco, according to Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer.

"We'd obviously be working very closely with our labor partners, with the Board of Supervisors and the CEO's office on making a decision of that magnitude," she said during a briefing Thursday. "You know, there's about 110,000 county employees, so we would want to really have a healthy discussion with our employees and particularly with our labor partners about what's the most sensible path forward."

Ferrer also said that there are some sectors where mandating vaccinations are required, like that of the healthcare sector. She also pointed out that individuals can make the call themselves.

The University of California and California State University has made it mandatory for all their staff, teachers, and students to be vaccinated to enter the campus.

San Francisco enacted some of the strictest pandemic regulations and has the highest vaccination rate, with about 71% of eligible residents fully vaccinated, according to the city's Department of Public Health. As of Wednesday, 55% of the city's workers have reported having taken at least one dose of COVD-19 vaccine, according to the Department of Human Resources.

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A machine learning enthusiast and a web developer. I love technology and all things related to it. Love writing about tech and sharing the information I gain. As the old saying goes sharing knowledge make the one even more knowledgeable. Currently working as a Trainee Software Engineer.

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