SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) — With San Francisco city employees now required to be vaccinated against COVID-19, nearly 90 percent of city staff have reported being vaccinated, the city’s Department of Human Resources said Thursday.

Of the city’s 36,125 employees, 88 percent have, so far, reported being vaccinated, with 10 percent reported being unvaccinated and 2 percent not reporting their status at all, human resources officials said.

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Two weeks ago, the city updated its vaccination policy, requiring all city employees who work in high-risk settings to be vaccinated by Sept. 15, and all other city employees to be vaccinated by Oct. 13. Additionally, all employees were required to report their vaccination status to the city by last week.

As of now, only a small number of first responders have failed to report their status by last week’s deadline, including two employees with the Sheriff’s Department; eight with the Police Department; and seven from the Fire Department, human resources officials said.

Leaders from the three departments are being charged with disciplining their employees, with employees who continue to refuse to report their status possibly facing a 10-day suspension without pay.

Employees facing discipline can appeal the action, human resources officials said.

While an increasing number of businesses, private companies, and municipalities are requiring vaccine proof from patrons and employees, vaccine mandates remain controversial.

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Last week, union leaders with the San Francisco Deputy Sheriff’s Association threatened to have deputies quit or retire if the city mandate was enforced.

Also last week, San Francisco firefighter Eigil Qwist filed a civil lawsuit against Human Resources Director Carol Isen and the city, alleging the vaccine mandate violates his rights. The suit described the mandate as “draconian.”

Qwist is seeking a restraining order that would prohibit the city from requiring vaccination and disciplining or terminating employees who choose to not report their status.

The city, as well as the nation, is continuing to experience a surge in COVID-19 cases over the last two months due to the contagious delta variant. The San Francisco Department of Public Health, the California Department of Public Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease, Control, and Prevention have all said the vaccine is the most effective option to prevent severe illness from COVID-19.

 

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