Special To the Vanguard
Davis, CA – Following many other government entities, the City of Davis announced Tuesday that it has issued a vaccine requirement for its personnel, including employees, interns, designated contractors and volunteers. This decision was made by the City Manager as a management action with the full backing of all City Council members.
The policy shall be effective September 1, 2021, and shall remain in effect until the City Manager determines that the local public health circumstances have sufficiently improved to permit the suspension of the policy.
The policy requires that City workers, who are vaccinated, provide proof of vaccination by September 9, 2021. By September 15, 2021, personnel must be partially vaccinated, fully vaccinated or have an approved exemption. Effective September 15, 2021, personnel not fully vaccinated must submit to weekly testing and provide a weekly, negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. Personnel must be fully vaccinated (one dose of a one-dose vaccine or two doses of a two-dose vaccine) or have an approved exemption by November 1, 2021.
All staff have been informed of the policy and employee labor groups have been invited to meet and confer on the workplace impacts of the policy. Non-compliance issues will be handled in accordance with the City disciplinary process.
“Requiring vaccines for City personnel is not only a prudent course of action, but a necessary one in light of the increase in COVID-19 cases” said City Manager Mike Webb. “The health and safety of our employees and the Davis public is our top priority, and ensuring continuity of services to the community is essential.”
The City is adopting this vaccination requirement as an emergency public health response to maintain a safe and healthy workplace, to mitigate the negative public health consequences associated with increased incidence and test positivity rates and because of the prevalence of new virus variants in addition to the recent full FDA approval of a vaccine. This policy has been enacted due to increased hospitalizations, intensive care unit admissions and deaths associated with not being fully vaccinated. This policy is intended to effectuate positive public health outcomes in the City by reducing the likelihood of hospitalizations at health care facilities, ICU admissions and deaths.
Vice Mayor Lucas Frerichs said, “I’m a firm believer in science, and evidence proves that vaccinated individuals are much less likely to end up hospitalized with COVID. It’s imperative for us to all work together and pitch in at this critical moment in the pandemic to protect our friends, neighbors and loved ones throughout Davis.”
“With the beginning of the school year and the Delta variant contributing to a rise in local COVID-19 cases, we must do all we can to support our residents and employees, and especially younger children who cannot get vaccinated yet,” said Councilmember Will Arnold.
“COVID-19 vaccines are proven to be safe and effective. Last week, the FDA fully approved the Pfizer vaccine,” said Councilmember Dan Carson. “As COVID cases rise, it is necessary to take this important step toward eradicating this disease.”
Additionally, many City employees, including but not limited to, firefighters, members of the Police Department, lifeguards, recreation staff, and various City customer service or management staff, among others, come into close contact with the public as part of their daily job duties. City employees may come into contact with members of the public who have been unable to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at this time, such as children or those with medical conditions contraindicated for the vaccine, or who refuse to get vaccinated, necessitating that City personnel get vaccinated to ensure that personnel are able to deliver effective services to the public without unduly compromising their safety.Moreover, all City employees are designated to be Disaster Service Workers under California Government Code sections 3100-3109 and are expected to work during an emergency when called upon.
“The City is obligated to provide our community services in the safest way possible for our employees and our community members. Additionally, as a partner in the Healthy Davis Together initiative, I believe it was imperative to enact this mandate as part of our commitment to work toward a COVID-free community” said Mayor Gloria Partida.
“This step is the right thing to do to safeguard the health of all those who live and work in Davis,” said Councilmember Josh Chapman. “The County is in the process of enacting such a requirement; the State of California and the University of California system acted in July to require vaccines for employees, and in August, the state required that K-12 private and public-school employees and healthcare workers get vaccinated. We view our City requirement as an essential action in this public health emergency.”