San Jose Launches COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate for City Employees

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The city of San Jose on Monday started required all city employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to a weekly test.

The move comes amid increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations across the city and beyond due to the highly contagious delta variant, the city said.

If an employee refuses to get vaccinated and and to submit a test, the city said it will put that employee on unpaid administrative leave.

"Vaccination remains the best and most effective tool in preventing COVID-19 and its harms; evidence shows that even against the delta variant, fully vaccinated individuals have substantial protection against severe illness, hospitalization and death," the city said in a statement.

San Jose officials say at least 81% of city employees have been vaccinated.

In the future, the city says it will eventually mandate vaccines for all employees unless they have a document exemption. When that time comes, testing won’t be an option in lieu of the shots.

On Tuesday, the San Jose City Council is expected to vote on more COVID-19-related restrictions at city venues. Mayor Sam Liccardo has proposed attendees and staff at events with 50 or more people at city facilities such as SAP Center be required to show proof of full vaccination.

Under the proposal, a negative COVID-19 test would not serve as a substitute for a vaccination.

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