South Bay agencies won’t copy San Francisco vaccine mandate
Unlike their San Francisco counterparts, Santa Clara County government workers won’t be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine anytime soon.
Last month, San Francisco announced that all 35,000 and more city employees will be required to receive a COVID-19 vaccine once it is fully approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration.
“The City and County of San Francisco must provide a safe and healthy workplace, compliant with public health guidelines and COVID-19 legal requirements, to protect its employees and the public as it reopens and fires more employees in the workplace, ”a statement read. of the city’s human resources department.
In response to San José Spotlight inquiries, officials in Santa Clara County and its two largest cities said there were no plans to make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for public employees.
An individual is considered to be fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving a second dose of Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, or two weeks after receiving the single dose vaccine manufactured by Johnson & Johnson. All available vaccines are only approved for emergency use, a process that allows the use of “unapproved medical products … to prevent serious or life-threatening illness,” according to the FDA.
Pfizer and Moderna have both filed for full approval for their two-dose vaccines. Johnson & Johnson have yet to announce their candidacy. There is no exact timeline as to when the FDA could grant full approval for any of these vaccines.
San Jose spokeswoman Carolina Camarena said the city is not considering requiring vaccines for city employees. The same is true for the city of Santa Clara, according to spokesperson Lon Peterson.
“We continue to work with city staff to provide services during COVID-19 directly, digitally and in a hybrid fashion,” Peterson said, adding that the city is relying on the county to mandate inoculations. “They would make the decision (to demand vaccines) and the city would align with it.”
A spokesperson for Santa Clara County said the county is following state guidelines regarding the requirement for vaccines for its employees. California does not have a mandatory vaccine requirement at this time.
According to Jonathan Mendick, spokesperson for the California Department of Education, there are also no plans to force teachers and other education workers in K-12 schools to be vaccinated.
“Any proposed COVID-19 vaccination mandate for California schools would require legislative action,” Mendick said. He reiterated that the state cannot impose any COVID-19 vaccine due to the emergency use authorization.
“Although the California Department of Education does not have the authority to mandate vaccination of students or staff, the state Superintendent of Education has encouraged and continues to encourage all young people and school staff to get vaccinated when eligible as an important safety measure for in-person learning, ”Mendick said.
At the end of May, labor attorney Sarju Naran answered questions from the San José Spotlight about what employers are allowed and not allowed to do with regard to the COVID-19 vaccine.
When asked if an employer could require a worker to be vaccinated if they refused to do so voluntarily, Naran explained that it was possible, with a few exceptions.
“Specifically, if an employee has a medical condition or has a sincere religious belief that prevents them from being vaccinated, the employer must reasonably accommodate the employee, unless it places undue hardship on the employee. business, ”Naran said at the time. “Undue hardship is difficult to establish, so businesses should consult with legal counsel before invoking this exception to the accommodation requirement. “
Contact Madelyn Reese at [email protected] or follow @MadelynGReese on Twitter.