Vaccine mandate under consideration for City of Richmond employees

Published: Aug. 3, 2021 at 5:05 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The City of Richmond is considering a vaccine mandate for all city employees.

The new policy details are still coming together and will be announced Wednesday. This comes as many look to deal with the next chapter in the COVID-19 pandemic

“Personally, I’d love to see and I would support the mayor and superintendent in requiring a vaccine for all school and city employees for the health and well-being of our kids and families,” said Stephanie Lynch, Richmond City Council.

The potential change comes as a direct result of what the city is seeing in its own ranks, including a growing number of infections likely due to the delta variant and concern for children in the classroom.

“What we’ve seen is an alarming trend in younger children catching COVID cases in what we’re calling ‘COVID hotspots,’ where children are gathering - summer camp, summer schools, childcare centers. Our rates of vaccination are not as high as we want them to be,” said Lynch.

Wednesday afternoon, Richmonders are expected to get updated guidance from City Hall during a briefing with Mayor Levar Stoney. That will likely include a mandate for all city employees to get a vaccine.

Lynch would like the change to be modeled after federal policy, which requires unvaccinated employees to wear a mask and get regularly tested for COVID-19. She also wants it applied to schools.

“I really think that we have to think seriously about following some of the precedent that our federal government set in vaccine mandates,” said Lynch.

The full details of the possible mandate won’t be released until the briefing.

“A pretty scary prospect about sending our kids back to school and knowing that a large population of our staff and employees at both the city level and at the school level may not be vaccinated, putting them at risk, and certainly, our students 12 and under,” said Lynch.

Right now, 43.2% of the city’s population is fully vaccinated.

Health officials say they’re averaging 30 cases per day in Richmond, a 149 percent increase from the average two weeks ago.

Right now, Richmond is at a very high risk for unvaccinated people.

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