The Los Angeles County sheriff is refusing to implement a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for his workers that went into full impact Friday, claiming he would instantly lose a piece of his workforce if he did.
“I’m not forcing anyone,” Sheriff Alex Villanueva mentioned throughout a Facebook Live Q&A on Thursday. “The issue has become so politicized, there are entire groups of employees who are willing to be fired and laid off rather than get vaccinated, so I don’t want to be in a position to lose 5, 10% of my workforce overnight.”
Villanueva, who has been hostile towards masks mandates as properly, oversees the biggest sheriff’s division within the nation, with round 18,000 workers. His announcement got here a day after Los Angeles metropolis officers permitted a stringent mandate that requires proof of full vaccination for staff and patrons at bars, eating places, sports activities venues and different public areas beginning Nov. 4.
Villanueva additionally cited funds cuts in his reasoning, saying that “we have to pick and choose” which county mandates to implement. The county minimize Villanueva’s $3.6 billion funds for 2021-2022 by 4%.
There does look like vaccine resistance amongst Los Angeles regulation enforcement to adjust to the rule handed in August requiring all county workers be vaccinated towards the virus. Last month, for instance, six Los Angeles Police Department officers sued over town’s model of the rule.
Despite Villanueva’s protestations, there’s robust proof that implementing vaccine mandates will get vaccine-hesitant folks to vary their minds reasonably than lose their jobs. Vaccination charges amongst LAPD officers have shot as much as a minimum of 65% following the announcement a couple of mandate, the police chief mentioned this week. That’s about 20% increased than the numbers from mid-September.
It’s unclear what number of of Villanueva’s workers are vaccinated, however there’s some indication the speed is under common. In mid-August, months after vaccines had been extensively out there to everybody, his division mentioned simply 26% of its employees had been vaccinated at sheriff’s workplace clinics. That didn’t embrace workers vaccinated elsewhere.