On Thursday, Pasadena Mayor Victor Gordo called on the mayors of all 88 cities in L.A. County and County officials to mandate that all city and county employees be vaccinated against COVID-19.
On Monday, City Manager Steve Mermell said he was instituting a policy that would require all Pasadena city employees be vaccinated.
Pasadena is facing significant spread of the Delta variant of the virus and local residents now are required to wear masks indoors at local businesses and other public places.
“I am urging the County of Los Angeles and all 88 cities within L.A. County—and those beyond—to join Pasadena in implementing a similar policy for their respective jurisdictions,” Gordo said. “Local government functions as an employer, and we have a responsibility to ensure a safe work environment for all employees. We hope our example will encourage private employers to adopt similar policies. Vaccination is the one tool we know works. Let’s join together in this effort.”
According to scientists, unvaccinated people could increase the possibility of more variants. The variants have the potential to be more deadly than the current variant.
“Each person who gets vaccinated is slowing the development of new variants,” Pasadena Public Health Director Dr. Ying-Ying Goh told the City Council on Monday. “Studies show that vaccines protect against the virus, including the variant.”
The Delta variant spreads more easily between people, and some research shows that people transmit the variant to others sooner than people spread the original strain of the novel coronavirus.
“It is disconcerting to witness this marked increase in COVID-19 positivity rates and hospitalizations across Los Angeles County, our state and the country, particularly because vaccines are free, safe, widely available, and effective at preventing hospitalization and death,” Gordo said.
Pasadena’s mandate will include an internal process to review requests for medical and religious exemptions.
It is not known how the city will deal with noncompliant employees or when the policy will take effect.
On Monday, Mermell said the city policy would be similar to one developed in San Francisco.
In that region, city employees were given 30 days to prove they had been vaccinated starting on June 28.
In San Francisco, employees who do not comply with the new rule face disciplinary action or termination.
“As we provide direct services to the public—and citizens have no choice but to rely on those services [e.g. policing, fire, code enforcement, etc.]—ensuring service provision in a manner that protects public health, safety and wellbeing is of utmost importance. Vaccinated city employees are part of the equation, along with remaining diligent and following safety protocols including frequent handwashing, use of hand sanitizer, face coverings, and staying home if you’re sick,” Gordo said. “It is our responsibility as leaders to ensure that our municipal workforces are doing their part to stem this rapid increase in COVID-19 transmission, and I am hopeful that the County of Los Angeles and each city within Los Angeles County will take action to ensure vaccination of their municipal employees.”