At least 92% of Denver city workers vaccinated after mandate
DENVER (AP) — At least 92% of Denver’s municipal employees were vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Friday, a day after the city’s vaccine mandate took effect in a bid to slow the spread of the virus during the fall and winter, according to a review of city compliance data.
The employee vaccination rate is greater than Denver’s 76% overall vaccination rate and the statewide 70%. rate. Employees had to prove that they had been vaccinated by Thursday, or get an exemption from the mandate. Otherwise, they could be terminated.
According to city data, 98.6% of its current 10,869 full-time employees complied with the mandate, either by being vaccinated or receiving an exemption.
So far, 652 workers have been exempted, about 6% of the workforce, while another 14 exemption requests were still pending.
Based on those figures, there were 10,051 workers who complied by providing proof of vaccination and 152 who did not submit proof of vaccination or gain an exemption. If they don’t comply, they will be informed that they face disciplinary action.
This mandate applies to all city employees from firefighters and police officers to office workers. It also requires people who work in schools and in private facilities considered to be at high risk for the spread of COVID-19, including hospitals and nursing homes, to be vaccinated. According to the city’s health department, this mandate will be enforced at those facilities by both active monitoring and responding to violations.
In the city’s schools, which aren’t under the jurisdiction of the municipal government 87% have made sure that staff are fully vaccinated. Another 3% were granted exemptions, Superintendent Alex Marrero stated in a Friday statement. The 10% who have not complied will continue to work in the school system with stronger masking requirements and weekly testing, also required of those with exemptions, as officials work to try to bring them into compliance, he said.
The mayor’s office didn’t respond to a request to comment on the vaccination rates among municipal workers. Instead, the Department of Public Health and Environment sent questions to the city’s Human Services office. They compiled the compliance data.
The executive director of the health department, Bob McDonald, stated that the city is grateful for those who made the “important, vital step” to get vaccinated.
“We made this Public Health Order as we believe vaccinations are the best way to fight the pandemic,” he stated.
Mayor Michael Hancock stated that he is grateful to all employees who complied with the order.
The mandate was put into effect amid concerns that it might worsen the shortage of sheriff’s deputies and police officers. Law enforcement officers are among the most reluctant to get vaccinated nationally. While the 95%, citywide compliance rate was lower than the sheriff’s office, the 98%. compliance rate for the police department was higher.
A group of seven officers from the police force, including some who were granted exemptions, tried unsuccessfully to stop this week’s implementation of the mandate in court.
The city attorney’s office has released a plan that will allow city agencies to issue disciplinary letters for municipal workers who have not followed the mandate. Workers who refuse to get vaccinated or are not exempted from the mandate will be fired. Others will be suspended for 10 days without pay and dismissed if they remain unvaccinated.
Those who have been granted exemptions from vaccination must wear masks and be tested at least five times per week. They also need to socially isolate themselves from other people.