San Francisco will require all city employees to be vaccinated or they could get fired

San Francisco will require all city employees to be vaccinated once the COVID vaccines get full approval from the Food and Drug Administration.

A letter to this effect was posted Wednesday on the city's Department of Human Resources page. 

City workers who refuse to be vaccinated and don’t get a medical or religious exemption could be fired.

The new policy makes San Francisco the first city or county in California — and probably the U.S. — to mandate COVID vaccinations for all government employees, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, which first reported the news.

Employees will have 10 weeks after a vaccine is approved by the FDA to get their shots. The three vaccines used in the United States – Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson – are still under emergency authorization by the FDA, but they are expected to be fully approved within a few months.

Starting Monday, employees will have 30 days to report to the city their current vaccination status, including showing proof of vaccination. Employees will report their vaccination status through the city’s payroll system. They must provide proof by uploading a photo of their vaccination card or the QR code generated by the state’s digital verification system.

As of Wednesday, about 55% of city employees have said they are at least partially vaccinated, according to the Department of Human Resources. About 5% of employees have said they are not vaccinated. The vaccination status of the remaining 40% is not known.

City workers include everyone from police and firefighters, to clerks, Muni operators and anyone who works in a city office. There are about 35,000 city employees. 

The new mandate does not include teachers, who work for the school district. 

Health officials in the South Bay took a different approach. 

In Santa Clara County, employers were ordered by the health department to verify who among their workforce is vaccinated or they could be subject to a hefty fine.

Those employees not wanting to share if they’ve been vaccinated don’t have to. They’ll be treated as though they haven’t. 

Businesses that don’t comply could face a fine of $5,000 per day.