California to debate requiring Covid vaccines in all workplaces

the Assembly Bill 1993, which would likely come into force next year and impose penalties on employers who fail to comply, is likely to draw criticism from enemies of the mandate – especially as infection and hospitalization rates driven by the Omicron variant continue to fall.

But Wicks argues that the unpredictability of the virus speaks in favor of the legislation. “It seemed like things were moving in the right direction many times before with this virus, and yet we were there with another wave,” she said.

Last year’s effort would have required customers as well as employees to present proof of vaccination against Covid-19. Wicks narrowed it down to focus only on workers and removed the testing option due to concerns about who would pay for testing.

Former New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio imposed a similar mandate on private sector companies in the city before he left office late last year, but the requirement was not issued to the government. state level.

The mandate would apply to workplaces of all sizes, as well as contractors, and would only allow medical or religious exemptions. New employees should receive at least one dose before their start date and a second dose within 45 days.

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health and the California Department of Public Health would provide guidance to employers on what constitutes a valid medical or religious excuse.

The bill does not yet specify whether workers should be vaccinated counted as fully vaccinated, nor does it specify the amount of penalties. The measure would remain in effect until the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determines that vaccines are no longer necessary to protect public health.

Wicks’ bill is the fourth piece of legislation to come out of the newly formed “vaccine caucus”, a group of seven California lawmakers committed to introducing policy measures that address Covid safety protocols and vaccine misinformation.

Other bills include CA SB866 (21R)by Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), that would allow children aged 12 and over to be vaccinated without parental consent.

CA SB871 (21R)by Sen. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), would require all school children to receive a Covid-19 vaccine from 2023, making it the strictest student mandate in the country if approved. Last week, Assemblywoman Akilah Weber (D-San Diego) introduced legislation that would give school districts access to the state’s immunization registry to check if a student is vaccinated against Covid.

The bill will go through committee hearings later this week. Wicks said she had discussions with employers and other organizations and some supported the proposal.

Wicks also said lawmakers are considering vaccine legislation that focuses on consumers entering businesses.


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