SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Two weeks after its vaccine deadline, the City of Sacramento says 79 percent of its employees — more than 3,500 — have been vaccinated, but nearly 19 percent, or about 850 employees, have yet to get the shots.
City leaders tell CBS13 they are excited about the vaccination numbers especially seeing a 99 percent reporting rate.READ MORE: Suspect Arrested After Car Chase In Downtown Sacramento
“It’s mandated so they’re either going to quit or go somewhere else,” said Adam Baird, a City of Sacramento employee.
Baird worried about first responders walking off the job because of the vaccine mandate.
“Police already have a hard enough job. Firefighters already have a hard enough job,” he said.
Baird, a city playground inspector, is vaccinated but is against the mandate. He believes everyone who works for the city should get a choice.
“If you want to get vaccinated, get vaccinated, or don’t get vaccinated. Wear a mask, don’t wear a mask, but it shouldn’t be a mandate,” he said.
Almost 80 percent of city employees have reported getting the shot. When it comes to the city’s public safety workers, 76 percent of firefighters are fully vaccinated and 73 percent percent of police are fully vaccinated.READ MORE: Wet Weather May Have Played Role In Davis Crash That Killed 1-Year-Old
But Sacramento’s Vice Mayor, Jay Schenirer says there are public-facing city employees who are working and are not vaccinated.
“We’re taking precautions. People have to social distance, people should be wearing masks. I think our goal and our strong push needs to be everyone needs to be vaccinated,” said Schenirer.
Right now, whether city employees could be fired for not getting the shot is under negotiations with labor unions. And although the Sacramento Police Union had previously said they were prepared to fight the city’s “vaccinate or terminate” program, the union President changed his tune.
SPOA President Tim Davis said:
“We are proud of our members vaccination rate and that it exceeds the rate of residents in Sacramento County. We will continue to encourage our unvaccinated members to consider getting vaccinated and work closely with the city manager on a policy to address those who decide not to do it at this time.
It is of upmost importance that we protect all our members from getting COVID-19 and ensure the safety of community members we work with every day. We support a policy that allows our members to continue working and are open to regular testing and other safety measures.”
Schenirer said, “We just need to keep moving towards the 100 percent goal that we have. I know our police chief and fire chief are trying to help us get there.”
Sacramento Firefighter Union 522 had no comment for this story.MORE NEWS: Sacramento Valley Chorus To Take Part In 80th Anniversary Of Pearl Harbor Attack In Hawaii
There are 72 employees who did not report their status by the deadline. They will be put on unpaid leave, a term that was agreed to by the city’s labor partners