By Steven Bonifazi / NewsBreak Denver
(DENVER, Colo.) The city of Denver will cease to require vaccines on March 4 at 11:59 p.m. for all city and county employees, contractors and private-sector workers in high-risk settings.
The Denver Department of Public Health & Environment said Wednesday that lifting the mandate will not negatively impact the city's one-week positivity rate, which is below 5%. The department also cited a high percentage of vaccinated and recently boosted residents, which contribute to a high level of community protection.
“During the pandemic we have made data-informed decisions to protect residents and Denver is now at a place where it makes sense to lift the vaccine mandate,” said Bob McDonald, health department executive director. “I want to thank everyone who complied with this mandate. By taking the step to be vaccinated and staying up to date on boosters, you have kept our hospital system from collapsing and have saved lives.”
The mandate took effect in the fall of last year during the surges of the Delta and Omicron variants to raise the vaccination rate. Currently, 90% of Colorado's residents have immunity to the Omicron variant, according to an estimate from the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment.
DDPHE also noted that this move to drop the vaccine mandate for city employees is part of a transition to approaching COVID-19 as an 'endemic' disease due to improved community outcomes and widely available vaccines and boosters. Specific settings such as medical facilities will still have federal and state vaccine mandates for employees.
Denver's vaccine mandate for city employees resulted in a handful of police officers being fired. One Denver Police Department veteran officer, Sean Cronin, was fired back in December after not getting vaccinated, 9News reports.
For more information regarding COVID-19 in Denver, click here.