Janey orders vaccination or weekly testing for all Boston city workers, contractors and volunteers
Acting Mayor Kim Janey announced today that the city will phase in a mandatory vaccination requirement for its 18,000 employees over the next two months.
The updated policy applies to all City of Boston employees, onsite contractors and volunteers who provide services onsite at City worksites, including all full-time, part-time, seasonal, emergency and probationary workers. If an employee cannot verify they are fully vaccinated, they are required to submit proof of a negative COVID-19 test result every seven days.
Meanwhile, all visitors to city buildings - and workers in them - will continue to have to wear masks inside them.
Three of Janey's opponents in the September primary - Michelle Wu, Andrea Campbell and John Barros - had earlier called for a vaccination requirement for city workers. Two days ago, the remaining major candidate, Annissa Essaibi George, opposed a vaccine requirement.
Employees of departments that deal with "high priority residents" - BPS, BPL, community centers and departments that focus on seniors and residents with disabilities - will have to show proof of vaccination or weekly test results by Sept. 20. All contractors working for those departments, as well as workers at other departments with heavy public contact - including police, fire, parks, ISD and the parking clerk - become subject to the requirement on Oct. 4. All other employees will have to start complying by Oct. 18.
Boston Teachers Union President Jessica Tang praised the program. However, Boston Firefighters Local 718 President John Soares vowed last week to fight any required shots without a round of bargaining to determine what his members get in return.
Janey said the city will set up clinics to offer shots to the shotless, including one specifically for workers at City Hall on Aug. 31. Also:
To help encourage vaccination rates among employees, the City will conduct a weekly lottery, the winner of which will be granted an extra one week of paid time off. All benefit eligible employees who verify their full vaccination status during the preceding week will be automatically entered into the lottery.
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Good. Good job [Acting] Mayor Janey. This will save lives both directly and indirectly.
Personally glad that my kiddos will be less likely to be with unvaccinated teachers in BPS.
Anybody but Essaibi George.
She really knows how to stand
She really knows how to stand out from the crowd of candidates but in all the wrong ways.
Make employees pay for the tests out of pocket
Weekly testing used for screening alone, while better than nothing, is a weak protection against spread in the time of Delta.
I think one of the ideas of a weekly test mandate is that non-vaxxed people will eventually get sick of it and opt for the more convenient vaccine. I say accelerate compliance by requiring people to either pay out of pocket for weekly testing or attach a filing fee for each week they submit their weekly negative test results. Weekly testing in perpetuity + weekly fees or a free shot and a sick day or 2? Let’s get serious before the cold weather.
Agreed! As you say, not only
Agreed! As you say, not only is weekly testing not very effective, it's also very costly--to all of us! I say give them two weekly tests for free and then it's out of pocket for anyone who isn't either fully vaxxed or between shots 1 & 2 (with a 40 day max window)
That's sort of what Germany is doing
No more free tests for the unvaccinated -- and a recent negative test is required to get into all sorts of places:
That's better than what Boston is doing (in Germany *everyone* still needs to get tested) but... I guess I'll take an improvement.
The next steps ...
1) Require vaccination for seating at restaurants and bars
2) The Mass Department of Public Health should require COVID vaccination of students who can receive the vaccine as a condition of school attendance — the Department has authority to do this (MGL c. 76, § 15; 105 CMR 220) and I would be curious to see an explanation as to why they haven't done it
Reading the tea leaves?
I took a phone poll the other day with the usual questions about who I’d vote for, whether I view candidate X favorably, etc. They focused on COVID response. I said I was unfavorable about Janey's recent remarks about vaccines. After a few questions, they mentioned some positive-sounding things Janey had done, and now would I consider voting for her? That happened again. It sounds like they were trying to figure out how deep a hole Janey had dug herself into and how best to climb out of it. These remarks today could be a result of that poll.