Providence to require city employees to show proof of vaccination as cases climb


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Mayor Jorge Elorza will soon require city employees to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 or risk losing their jobs.

The mandate is an update to the city’s existing vaccination policy released back in October, which allowed employees to choose between being vaccinated or submitting to weekly COVID testing.

City employees have until Jan. 14 to prove they have received their first dose. They’ll also have to show that they’ve completed their vaccine series as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on or before Feb. 28.

An employee will be considered fully vaccinated the date their primary vaccine series is completed. Failure to comply, according to the mayor’s office, will result in “separation from city employment.”

“The COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective and the best solution we have to fight this pandemic,” Elorza said. “With cases continuing to rise and our hospital infrastructure facing continued strain, we need strong public health measures and policies in place to increase vaccination rates and reduce the likelihood of hospitalization for those who contract the virus.”

Dr. Andrew Saal, chief medical officer of the Providence Community Health Centers, said he’s supportive of Elorza’s efforts to increase the vaccination rate among city employees.

“Vaccines are the most effective tool to protect the health and safety of everyone in our community against COVID-19,” Saal said. “A healthy community needs a healthy workforce, and the vaccines can help protect all city employees as well as their families at home.”

The Mayor’s Center for City Services is continuing to book vaccine appointments for Providence residents ages 18 and older.

The mayor’s office said a vaccine clinic is scheduled for Dec. 30 at the Providence Career and Technical Academy. There will be 800 available appointments on a first come, first serve basis.

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