SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — Santa Clara County leaders announced Thursday all county employees will be required to get a COVID vaccine. It came on the same day President Joe Biden rolled out vaccination requirements for federal employees.
County workers will be required to be vaccinated as a condition of employment with specific exceptions for health or religious issues.READ MORE: Flames Reach Ancient Sequoias; Crews in Pitched Battle to Save Giant Forest Grove
“Anything we can do to get people vaccinated, to save lives, to get this pandemic over, we should do,” said Dr. John Swartzberg with the UC Berkeley School of Public Health. He says he supports employers requiring vaccinations to encourage holdouts to get the shot.
“The more people we get vaccinated, the faster we get through this pandemic, and so importantly, fewer people wind up in the hospital and die,” says Dr. Swartzberg
There are more than 22,000 Santa Clara employees and close to 10 million federal employees who will be impacted by Thursday’s announcements.READ MORE: PG&E Says Light Rain After Long Drought Led to Lights-Out Across Bay Area
“Want to know how we put this virus behind us? Well, I’ll tell you how, we have to get more people vaccinated,” said Biden Thursday. He announced new COVID protocols for all federal workers as vaccination rates are lagging and the Delta variant is spreading.
“If you’re unvaccinated, you present a problem, to yourself, to your loved ones,” said Biden.
As part of the federal plan, approximately 10 million civilian employees and contractors will have to get vaccinated or get tested for COVID-19 once or twice a week. They’ll be required to wear a mask, social distance, and might have official travel restricted.
Santa Clara County has not announced a specific date when all county employees will be required to be vaccinated. As far as civilian federal employees go, the changes goes into effect immediately but each agency will have time to create vaccination and testing programs.MORE NEWS: Woman Fatally Shot, Another Wounded Outside Pittsburg 7-Eleven Store
Government employers aren’t the only ones requiring vaccinations. In the past couple of days, a number of Bay Area companies have announced similar policies for corporate office employees – including Google, Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, Uber and Lyft.