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Most Pasadena City Employees Must Show Proof of Vaccination by Sept. 17

Policy allows religious and medical exemptions

Published on Monday, August 23, 2021 | 4:09 pm

[UPDATED] Pasadena’s policy requiring all municipal employees to be vaccinated will go into effect on Sept. 3.

According to the policy, employees will have until Sept. 17 to supply city officials with proof of their vaccination status.

“In order to allow the City to follow Pasadena’s Health Orders, ensure that the City fulfills its primary function of protecting the health and safety of the Pasadena community while also meeting its obligation to provide a safe and healthy workplace for employees, all City employees must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19, or request an exemption or deferral, as a condition of employment no later than September 17, 2021,” the policy states.

The policy allows for medical and religious exemptions. Employees granted an exemption will be tested weekly. Acceptable proof includes a screenshot of the digital vaccination record or a photo of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 vaccination record card or documentation by the employee’s health care provider.

Since June 15, when most state restrictions were lifted, the average daily incident case rate of COVID-19 in Pasadena has increased by more than 600% to reach the “High Transmission” level of the CDC’s Indicators for Level of Community Transmission.

L.A. County has also reached that level, which also increases a greater risk of transmission in Pasadena. Hospitalizations from COVID-19 both locally and throughout Los Angeles County have more than doubled.

Pasadena last month became the first city in Southern California to mandate vaccinations of its employees when City Manager Steve Mermell announced at a City Council meeting that the policy was being drafted.

At the time of that announcement, Mermell said the vaccination rate of city employees was in the mid to high 60% range. In total, 83.4% of the city’s residents have been vaccinated.

Originally, the city planned to offer deferrals until the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the vaccines. However, on Monday, the Pfizer vaccine was fully approved for those 16 and older.

The city manager is expected to meet with unions to discuss the policy.

According to scientists, unvaccinated people could increase the possibility of more variants, which 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 last month.

“Studies show that vaccines protect against the virus, including the variant,” Goh said.

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.

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