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Pasadena will require COVID vaccines for all city employees

Amid the accelerated spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus, Pasadena will require all city employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 once the injections receive federal approval.

City manager Steve Mermell announced the requirement at a city council meeting on Tuesday, in tandem with another new rule that will again require Pasadena residents to wear masks in public places indoors.

“When a police officer comes to your house, a firefighter comes to your house because you need our help, you have no choice whether we send the vaccinated or the unvaccinated,” Mermell said. “The public needs to get in touch with city employees. We want the city workers to be healthy, we want the public not to get sick. “

The new vaccination requirement comes days after a dozen workers tested positive for COVID-19 and several others were forced to self-quarantine, city spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said.

“A single positive test has a domino effect on many more,” she said. “We have to make sure that we take care of our working families because they bring it home to their own families if we don’t take care of them. “

The city has more than 2,000 employees, and about 60% of them have declared themselves vaccinated, Derderian said. That rate lags behind the city as a whole, where 80% of residents – 97,012 people – are fully immunized, according to the city’s COVID-19 digital dashboard.

The city has its own public health department, separate from that of Los Angeles County.

“We’re lucky in Pasadena to have up to an 80% vaccination rate, but, you know, 20% is still a significant number, when you multiply that by every community in our area,” said Mayor Victor. Gordo.

“We can see how we all have to work together in Pasadena as neighbors, but also outside Pasadena to ensure that people are vaccinated. We don’t live in a vacuum, we live in an area where people come in and out of the city every day. We should encourage everyone to get vaccinated.

The vaccination requirement will not come into effect until the United States Food and Drug Administration approves at least one of the three vaccines that have received emergency clearance.

Pasadena is the first city in Southern California to issue such a rule; it is following suit in San Francisco, which decided last month to issue a similar ordinance for its 35,000 municipal employees.

The University of California system also announced last week that it would require vaccines for all students, faculty and others for the fall term.

A more immediate requirement for those in Pasadena is the rule expected to take effect Wednesday night, requiring masks to be worn in all indoor facilities. The city’s public health order follows a similar rule initiated by Los Angeles County last week.

The rate of COVID-19 cases has skyrocketed in Pasadena in recent weeks, with the average daily number of confirmed cases rising 240% since July 1, said public health official Dr Ying-Ying Goh. at Tuesday’s meeting. The rate is similar to what was reported in October, just before the deadly winter wave.

When restrictions were relaxed statewide on June 15, Pasadena recorded about one case per day, Goh said. On Monday, the city’s dashboard recorded 15 cases of the coronavirus.

“We’re in a place where it really makes sense to take this protective measure for a while until we can get back there,” Goh said.

On July 8, the city reported its first COVID-related death in 98 days, said Goh – an unvaccinated man over 65 with several underlying health issues.

On Tuesday night, the threat of the more transmissible Delta variant, which has become California’s most dominant strain of coronavirus, loomed above the discussion on Tuesday night. Studies have shown that vaccines currently offered in the United States protect against the variant.

The city is continuing its vaccination campaign by distributing $ 20 gift cards to Vons grocery stores to anyone who receives the vaccine Tuesday at the Pasadena Public Health Department. Pasadena administered injections across town, at local stores, the Rose Bowl, churches and mobile clinics, officials said.

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