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Deadline today for County employees to get COVID vaccine, numbers remain unclear

Deadline tomorrow for County employees to get COVID vaccine, numbers remain unclear
Posted at 6:40 PM, Dec 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-31 08:51:09-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Pima County is requiring all county employees working with vulnerable populations to get vaccinated. The deadline is today but it’s still uncertain how many employees will be fired.

“We have had very good response with people recognizing the need to be vaccinated,” said Jan Lesher, County Administrator.

County Administrator Jan Lesher says there’s a total of 158 unvaccinated full-time employees. Of those, 112 are corrections officers at the Pima County jails.

“We’ve been working with our health department, the folks who review the numbers, with the Sheriff’s Department, moment by moment to make sure we’re getting every individual who has been vaccinated,” Lesher said.

But that number is a lot higher than the Sheriff’s estimates. Around two weeks ago, Sheriff Chris Nanos reported that he expects only five unvaccinated corrections officers by December 31.

“Sheriff Nanos has indicated he believes that number by the time we get to the end of the month will be at five individuals,” Lesher said at a Board of Supervisors meeting on December 21.

On Wednesday, the Sheriff changed that estimate to 24. The county says these discrepancies come from a lack of reporting by vaccinated employees. Michael Dominguez, the President of the Sheriff’s Labor Association, says it’s a lack of organization.

“Human Resources doesn’t know what to do, they’re deflecting it back to the employees," Dominguez said. "Our employees are calling the Sheriff’s office, they’re deflecting back to Human Resources. Nobody knows what they’re doing.”

The deadline to vaccinate is tomorrow at midnight, but Lesher says her team needs to cross-check numbers after the holiday, and plans to send out terminations on January 7. Dominguez says captains are already telling employees not to come back to work.

“If they don’t know what they’re doing, how are my officers supposed to know what they’re supposed to do?" Dominguez said. "How are my officers supposed to feel safe knowing this level of disorganization occurs at top-level government agencies?”

He says around 40 officers resigned this month and the department is severely understaffed.