In what has become the latest frontline assault in the battle against the Coronavirus, cities and states across the country are now utilizing vaccine mandates to ensure that people get vaccinated as COVID-19 case rates continue to soar with the onslaught of the Delta variant.
California was the first state and New York the first major city to announce vaccination mandates for public employees and earlier this week, Councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas introduced a new motion that would direct the City’s Chief Administrative Office, Chief Legislative Analyst and City Attorney to develop a policy to require all City employees be fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus and report their COVID-19 vaccination status to the City.
“Plain and simple – vaccinations are the only way out of this pandemic, and the City of Los Angeles must lead by example, Ridley-Thomas said. “Vaccines are the most effective way to prevent transmission and limit COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths. If we want our economy to fully recover, if we want our children to be able to go to school without masks on, and if we want the most vulnerable members of our community to not end up in the hospital, we must all do our part. Voluntary efforts have proven to be insufficient to move beyond this pandemic, so it’s time to think differently about our approach, and the City must lead as an example of what can and should be done.”
Sixteen months into the pandemic with widespread availability of vaccines, only 2,202,429 City of Los Angeles residents aged 16+, representing 67.3% of the City’s population have received vaccinations. Amongst communities of color in Los Angeles County, the rates of vaccination are even more stark, with only 46% of African Americans and 55% of Latinos having been vaccinated. These rates have not only impeded Los Angeles’ economic recovery, but have resulted in thousands of Angelenos continuing to contract the disease on a daily basis.
Just one day after Ridley-Thomas’ motion, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti and Council President Nury Martinez announced that all city employees will be required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccinations or weekly negative COVID-19 tests.
The move signals a growing trend that officials fear could prolong the pandemic and the economics consequences that come with it.
“Too many people have chosen to live with this virus,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom said. “We’re at a point in this pandemic where individuals’ choice not to get vaccinated is now impacting the rest of us, and in a profound and devastating and deadly way.”