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Los Angeles Moves to End COVID Vaccine Mandate for City Workers

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Los Angeles Moves to End COVID Vaccine Mandate for City Workers

A Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is administered to a person in Los Angeles on Jan. 29, 2022. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

City News Service

City News Service

10/26/2023

Updated: 10/26/2023

LOS ANGELES—Seeking to align the city of Los Angeles with federal and county vaccination directives, six city councilors Oct. 25 introduced a motion calling for a plan to end the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all current and future city employees.
Councilwoman Traci Park and Council President Paul Krekorian authored the motion, which instructs the city administrative officer and city attorney to report on the feasibility, impact, and timeline of ending the mandate. Councilors Heather Hutt, Kevin de León, John Lee, and Curren Price seconded the motion.
“Our action seeks to align city policy with our partners in the federal and county governments, as well as LAUSD. With hospitalization rates remaining low and other COVID-era policies having sunset, we have entered a new phase of our pandemic recovery,” Ms. Park said in a statement.
She added, “We need a uniform strategy that eliminates public uncertainties. The evolving landscape necessitates a review and potential adjustment of our current policies.”
Mr. Krekorian noted the motion continues ongoing discussion in the Executive and Employee Relations Committee and negotiations with unions representing city employees.
“A well-considered plan for lifting the mandate will be thoroughly discussed in council, as it should be,” Mr. Krekorian said.
Mayor Karen Bass, who backed the motion as well, added, “We will remain vigilant as we work to ensure that our city employees are safe and healthy, and that Los Angeles City Hall continues to do the good work of the people of this city.”
According to the motion, the city took unprecedented steps to “protect the health of its workforce and residents, which included the adoption of a vaccine mandate. The policy resulted in an 82 percent vaccination rate among full-time city employees.”
Vaccinated people can still contract and transmit COVID, but health officials said the shots can lower the severity of symptoms and prevent the chances of hospitalization and even death.
While COVID-19 hospitalizations in the county remain low, the city’s vaccine mandate has stayed in place, even as other public entities have rescinded or eased vaccine requirements for their workforce.
The city of Los Angeles ended its policy requiring proof of vaccination to enter public buildings in February.
In April, Los Angeles County ended its vaccination requirement for existing and new county employees, which followed a related action by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors to end vaccination requirements for certain contractors.
The Biden administration ended its COVID-19 vaccination requirements for federal employees and contractors in May, citing a 98 percent compliance rate among its federal workforce, as well as a significant decline in hospitalizations and fatalities.
In September, the Los Angeles Unified School District ended its vaccination requirement for staff, including teachers.
“The city should consider aligning its policy with the county and federal governments to create consistency, mitigate and prevent a competitive disadvantage with other jurisdictions,” the city council motion states.
The motion will be considered by the Personnel, Audits, and Hiring Committee at a future date.
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