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Pima County considering mandatory vaccinations for employees

COVID-19 Vaccine
Posted at 9:12 AM, Feb 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-09 20:16:07-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Pima County leaders are considering whether to require employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

The news comes via a memo from County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry to the Board of Supervisors Monday. Huckelberry also forwarded a memo from the county's human resources director, Cathy Bohland, who said mandating the vaccine is allowed under guidance from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Bohland's memo also says the county will be required to allow exceptions for some workplace accommodations, such as a medical disability or a "sincerely held religious belief." Bohland also says the county would need to decide whether it will fire employees who refuse to be vaccinated and who do not meet an exemption, noting a potentially damaging effect on morale if a large number of terminations are required.

Ultimately, Bohland's memo says the county can decide to make vaccinations mandatory or voluntary, while strongly encouraging vaccinations under the latter policy.

In his memo, Huckelberry expressed support for requiring the vaccine for new hires as well as for some county jobs.

"It seems appropriate that perhaps all new hires in the county should be required to be vaccinated and that there are certain job classifications where individuals receiving service from Pima County such as those in our Pima County Adult Detention Complex should be protected by having those employees vaccinated," Huckelberry says in the memo.

The Board of Supervisors will discuss the county's vaccination policy at a meeting next month.

Read the full memo from Administrator Chuck Huckelberry here