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Pima County requires employees working with 'vulnerable populations' to be vaccinated

Tucson International Airport vaccine pop-up .jpg
Posted at 2:14 PM, Oct 19, 2021

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The Pima County Board of Supervisors approved a new vaccination mandate for its employees -- but only some of them.

The board voted at Tuesday's meeting to require employees who work with "vulnerable populations" to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The plan is one of several options to require vaccines laid out in a memo by Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry.

Those employees included in the mandate are those who work with children or the elderly, employees in the Pima County jails, and county-employed health care workers, Huckelberry's memo says.

During Tuesday's meeting, Supervisor Rex Scott asked what the reason behind the mandate is.

"The reason that we want employees to be fully vaccinated is so that they don't end up having the very, very serious consequences of a COVID infection," said Dr. Francisco Garcia, chief medical officer."Perhaps more importantly to the public that is coming to our counters that are coming to our departments for a variety of services working we encounter for a variety of services so that is the reason.

Employees included in the mandate have until Jan. 1, 2022, to provide proof of vaccination. If not, they could face discipline up to and including termination.

The decision did not come without some opposition. During the Call to the Public, a few people spoke out.

One claimed the mandate will not slow the spread and another declared people have a right to choose what goes in their bodies.

The county's policy on COVID-19 vaccinations already in place includes incentives and disincentives to get the shot. Incentives for vaccinated employees include a $300 bonus and three bonus vacation days. Disincentives for unvaccinated employees are a $45 health insurance surcharge per pay period, which would be repaid in full after the employee gets vaccinated.

The board passed another disincentive in Tuesday's meeting — unvaccinated employees will no longer be permitted off-duty or outside employment.

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