New measures set out today in New York City and California mean that state employees will be required to get vaccinated against Covid-19 or undergo regular tests for the virus.
Both areas are currently seeing a surge in Covid-19 infections. According to ABC7 News, health officials warned that the majority of the new cases are among those who have not been vaccinated.
Meanwhile, the Department of Veterans Affairs became the first federal agency to require its frontline health care workers to be vaccinated, in a move confirmed by President Joe Biden.
“Veteran Affairs is going to in fact require that all docs working in facilities are going to have to be vaccinated,’ Mr Biden told reporters on Monday.
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio said the rapid spread of the Delta variant was behind the new city mandate, which will affect approximately 340,000 city workers, including teachers and police officers.
Mr de Blasio said: “This is about our recovery, this is about what we need to do to bring back New York City, this is about keeping people safe, this is about making sure our families get through Covid OK, this is about bringing back jobs. You name it.”
He added: “We’re leading by example”, and commented that he hoped the city’s actions would encourage private employers to follow suit.
Renee Campion, commissioner at the New York City Office of Labor Relations, said employees that refused to comply would be put on leave without pay, reported NPR.
In California, similar measures were put in place. Governor Gavin Newsom made the announcement that state employees and health care workers will need to show evidence of vaccination by August 2, or be required to take mandated tests and wear masks.
Unvaccinated health care workers will have to be tested twice a week.
“We’re at a point in this epidemic this pandemic where choice, individuals’ choice not to get vaccinated, is now impacting the rest of us in a profound and devastating and deadly way,” Mr Newsom said.
The state’s Covid-19 cases have risen sharply, with a new seven-day average of 6,400 cases per day, and 3,000 hospitalisations per day.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed tweeted an update to the city’s existing policy, announced last week, that all city employees had to get vaccinated.
She posted: “Starting Wednesday, anyone hired by the City and County of San Francisco must be vaccinated for COVID before they can start their new job. This builds on our already announced requirement for existing employees.”
Starting Wednesday, anyone hired by the City and County of San Francisco must be vaccinated for COVID before they can start their new job.— London Breed (@LondonBreed) July 26, 2021
This builds on our already announced requirement for existing employees. https://t.co/D3db9gh98K
In a tweet posted last week, she had said: “I applaud the businesses that are stepping up to do the same with their employees. We need widespread vaccinations to end this pandemic.”
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