Photo by Jared Erondu via Unsplash

San Francisco became the first city in California to require all its city workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or risk losing their jobs. The policy takes effect on June 28. 

Approximately 35,000 of its workers will be given up to 10 weeks to get their vaccines after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) fully approves them, as they are currently only approved for emergency use. City workers have until the end of July to submit vaccination verifications through the city’s payroll system. 

Beginning June 28, city employees will have 30 days to prove their vaccination status with the city in keeping with Cal/OSHA regulations. 

City officials believe that mandatory vaccinations will ensure safety among staffers and the public. 

“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,” Carol Isen, the city’s human resources director, told CBS News in a statement. “Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent transmission and limit COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths.”

According to the new policy, city workers with medical conditions or religious beliefs that prevent them from receiving the vaccine are exempt from the mandate. However, those who can receive the vaccine yet choose not to will be fired.

As of June 20, 72% of San Francisco’s eligible population are fully vaccinated while 81% of those age 65 and over are fully vaccinated, according to city officials. 

“At this point we are focused on compliance and helping our employees see their way through to getting themselves vaccinated,” Isen told NBC.  

Previously, San Francisco had to let go of some of its workers for refusing to wear a mask. Isen told NBC that the city will enforce these new rules when needed. 

“We are in support of anyone receiving the vaccine, however, we are not in support of forced vaccines. The general consensus among union workers is shock and awe. This is because this decision of mandatory vaccines was taken without any union input,” Roger Marenco, president of Transport Workers Union Local 250A, told Scriberr News.

SEIU 1021, a city workers union, noted in a statement that while they support and encourage members to take the vaccine, they do not support a “threatening mandate.”

Scriberr News reached out to Mawuli Tugbenyoh, mayoral representative of San Francisco, but did not respond by press deadline.

Written ByVivian Kwang

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