San Jose updates mandatory vaccination policy

Bay Area

FILE – In this Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020, file photo, a patient receives an influenza vaccine in Mesquite, Texas. Amid all the focus on COVID-19 vaccinations, U.S. health experts have another plea: Don’t skip your flu shot. With U.S. schools and businesses reopened, international travel resuming and far less masking this fall, flu is likely to make a comeback. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) – San Jose announced that it will be giving a one week “grace period” for city employees who have not already gotten their COVID-19 vaccine.

The deadline for employees who do not meet a religious or medial exemption to be vaccinated was yesterday, September 30.

Unvaccinated employees will be required to test negative twice a week at their own time and expense in the mean time. 

If they do not start the vaccination process during the grace period, employees will be put on a one-week unpaid suspension.

“San Jose doesn’t want to push anyone out of their employment with the city, but we have a responsibility to continue to deliver critical city services, safely, to our residents,” said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo. “We know new variants are emerging, which only furthers the need to ensure we have a vaccinated workforce. Our ability to provide essential services to our community without increased risk of interruptions from exposures depends on it.”

Staggered suspensions will be issued to be mindful of potential service impacts.

Unvaccinated employees going through the disciplinary process will remain in the workplace with the expectation that they comply with required testing.

The city will also consider further action for those that remain unvaccinated after December 31, which may include disciplinary action including termination.

Employees who have received first dose of a COVID vaccine by October 1 or during the disciplinary process will be given reasonable time to receive their second dose and will not be subject to disciplinary action unless they fail to receive their second dose.

Religious and medical exemptions are made on a case-by-case basis and qualified employees will have to submit test results twice a week. Testing will have to be done during off-work hours or by using available leave balances. Failure to provide the test results twice a week will result in the employee being placed on unpaid leave until they submit negative test results.

San Jose city workforce vaccination has increased from an 89% to 92% in recent weeks. The police department has increased from 82% vaccinated to 86% vaccinated as of September 24. The fire department is also at a 92% vaccination rate.

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