San Francisco is telling its 35,000 city employees that they must get vaccinated against COVID-19 or they will lose their jobs. Not surprisingly, many workers and unions are speaking out against this unconscionable infringement on health freedom.
Officials announced earlier this week that municipal workers will be required to get the vaccine within 10 weeks after it is fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Although exceptions will reportedly be granted for religious or medical reasons, it is not yet clear what the procedure for such exemptions will be or how they will be approved. However, we do know that the medical exemptions will only apply to employees who have medical conditions affecting their vaccine eligibility and must be verified by a medical provider. Those with a “sincerely held religious belief” that stops them from getting a vaccine would have their requests reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
Speaking to the San Francisco Chronicle, the city’s human resources policy chief, Mawuli Tugbenyoh, said that employees who don’t get the jab face “repercussions [that] go all the way up to termination.” He added that they are currently focusing on “education” and “outreach” – which presumably involves falsely painting the vaccines in a positive light and shaming people into thinking they will hurt society by not complying – although it’s likely that those employees who don’t want the vaccine have already done their own unbiased research on the matter and understand the true risks quite well.
Starting June 28, city employees will be given 30 days to inform the city of their vaccination status. When the vaccines are granted FDA approval, they will be required to submit their status through the city’s payroll system with evidence such as photos of vaccination cards. None of the vaccines being used in the U.S. for COVID-19 right now have gained full FDA approval yet; all are being administered under emergency authorization, which makes requiring them questionable from a legal standpoint.
So far, roughly 81 percent of people in San Francisco over age 12 have been given at least one dose of the vaccine. The city estimates that 50 to 60 percent of its workforce has already been vaccinated.