The Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved a requirement for city employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by October.
In order to be compliant with the requirement, employees will have to receive their first dose by September 7 in order to leave time for the required second dose, plus the 14-day waiting period needed to be considered fully vaccinated. For those receiving the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine, employees will have until October 5 to receive it.
“This is the right thing to do, plain and simple,” Council President Nury Martinez said. “We are the largest employer in the City of Los Angeles and we need to set an example. How can we urge Angelenos to get vaccinated if we won’t demand that of our own employees? No resident should be nervous that the city worker helping them is unvaccinated and may get them sick.”
Petitions for religious or medical exemptions will start being accepted on September 7, with each petition being “evaluated on a case-by-case basis.”
After October 19, new hires will also see a clause in their contract requiring vaccination before starting.
“We have some of the most hard-working and dedicated employees anywhere — people who stepped up to save lives during the most challenging year of our lives, without ever losing sight of their work to make our City stronger, safer, and more equitable,” L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said. “The Delta variant continues to spread, and it is more important than ever that people get vaccinated as soon as they can. As the Council President and I said last month, this requirement will help protect the health and safety of those who keep our city running and the Angelenos who rely on the services they provide every day.”
On Wednesday, the U.S. Surgeon General announced that both Pfizer and Moderna would be allowed to administer booster shots to people 18 and older, eight months after their second shot.
“We know that even highly effective vaccines become less effective over time,” Dr. Vivek Murthy, the surgeon general, said at a White House briefing. “It is now our clinical judgment that the time to lay out a plan for COVID boosters is now.”
The booster shots for all will begin September 20.
In Los Angeles County, boosters of mRNA shots have been approved for immunocompromised patients as soon as 28 days after their 2nd dose.
immunocompromised patients include those receiving cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood, patients with organ transplant who take medicine to suppress the immune system, any patient taking medication to suppress the immune system, paitents with DiGeorge syndrome or Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome, advanced or untreated HIV infections, or active treatments with high-doses of corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress the immune response.