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Gov. Northam announces vaccine requirement for state employees

Published: Aug. 5, 2021 at 11:46 AM EDT|Updated: Aug. 5, 2021 at 4:53 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Starting Sept. 1, state employees must show proof of COVID-19 vaccination.

“There’s no reason why we need to see more suffering and sickness,” said Governor Ralph Northam, (D) Virginia.

Thursday, Northam announced a vaccine mandate for about 122,000 under his control.

The executive order will require proof of vaccination for at-will, classified, waged and other salaried employees in the executive branch including workers at the Department of Motor Vehicles, Virginia Employment Commission and Virginia State Police.

“I am directing this measure to keep state employees safe and to keep the people we serve safe and I really encourage local governments and private companies to do the same thing,” said Northam.

It does not, however, cover the legislative or judicial branches of government nor K-12 staff and teachers.

Like other vaccine mandates seen so far, the state does have an exemption for medical or religious reasons, but those folks will have to be regularly tested for COVID-19.

Failure to comply is considered a safety violation and employees will face consequences.

“We are still working all the bugs out and we hope to have a policy out within 15 to 30 days, prior to Sept. 1,” said Grindly Johnson, Secretary of Administration.

While COVID cases, hospitalizations and deaths are creeping back up due to the delta variant in Virginia, so too are vaccination rates, with just over 13,000 doses in the last day.

“Maybe you’re worried about side effects, maybe you wanted to wait to see how other people reacted to the vaccine, but I hope you will listen to me and hear me now. The time for waiting is over,” said Northam.

The full executive directive can be read, here.

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