TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Pima County’s Chief Medical Officer is happy to see the President’s vaccine mandate for medium to large companies but Doctor Francisco Garcia is concerned about smaller companies the order does not cover.
President Biden’s order requires companies with more than a hundred workers to make sure those workers get COVID shots or take COVID tests every week.
That requirement covers a lot of companies in Arizona: more than 3,800 companies and almost 1.1 million workers. It’s not clear how many are already vaccinated. Those figures come from the Maricopa Association of Governments.
Pima County’s share of companies under the President’s order would be more than 480 companies and more than 154,000 workers.
Pima County’s Chief Medical Officer is pleased to see the Presidential order but says in Pima County most workers are in companies too small for the order to apply to them. Doctor Francisco Garcia says the County is trying to make sure smaller companies have ready access to vaccines and says the County will bring shot clinics to companies that ask for them.
Doctor Garcia says, “I think we need to think beyond the mandate to where are the other places in our community that need assistance in terms of getting vaccinated, and as far as I'm concerned, one of those groups happens to be small businesses and we need to figure out how to make sure that we're putting resources in their hands to get their employees and their customers protected.”
Requiring vaccines in companies with more than 100 workers does leave out a large slice of Arizona’s workforce.
Statewide the mandate would not affect more than 86,000 companies, accounting for more than 1.3 million workers.
Pima County’s portion of that is more than 12,000 companies, with close to 204,000 workers.
Doctor Garcia does not think the demands of the President's order will require a return to mass vaccination sites. He thinks pharmacies and doctors’ offices will be able to handle demand.