By Andria Borba

SAN JOSE (KPIX) — October 1 was supposed to be the day San Jose’s vaccine mandate for city employees kicked in, meaning no shots, no job. On Friday, a last-minute deal was struck and a compromise was reached.

The move from a hard-line vaccination approach to a more lenient one was defended by Mayor Sam Liccardo.

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“Give everyone the time they need to get information and make good decisions,” Liccardo said in a press conference Friday.

Ninety-two percent of city employees are fully vaccinated but about 8 percent are not, including more than 100 San Jose police officers.

Under the agreement, unvaccinated city employees and officers will get a week suspension without pay and be required to be tested twice a week for COVID-19 on their own time and with with their own money.

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“With this frequent battery of testing while the disciplinary process is happening, we hope over time, more of our employees will continue to get vaccinated,” mayor Liccardo explained.

The deal was hammered out over several days and San Jose Police Officers Association president Sean Pritchard said that, while the unioon has encouraged vaccination, the deal preserves respect for individual choice.

“I think we’ve really been able to strike a balance here with that, at the same time trying to maintain safety for our members as well as the community that we serve,” Pritchard told KPIX.

Sanctions will ratchet up. If an employee fails to complete two COVID-19 tests a week, there will be further sanctions.

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This deal pushes termination for failing to vaccinate to the end of the year, at which point termination proceeding can be fast-tracked.