OPINION: City Workers, School District Employees Need Mandated Vaccinations

Teachers and Police Officers were greeted by Danny King a Burbank Fire Inspector taking temperatures and handing out new masks prior to getting vaccinated back in March. Many employees are still not vaccinated (Photo by Ross A Benson)

It’s just my opinion…

Already, the coronavirus Delta Variant is unleashing its fury across Southern California and throughout Burbank.

This is basically the third wave of the pandemic that we have all had to go through except this time, did we really? The Delta Variant is here. According to the CDC, last week, officials said the variant accounts for an estimated 83% of U.S. COVID-19 cases, and noted a 32% increase in COVID hospitalizations from the previous week.

On July 12, a Los County Health report said “Over 99% of the COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths we are seeing are among unvaccinated individuals. Of the cases reported today, nearly 87% were under 50 years old. The COVID-19 vaccines are the most effective and important tool to reduce COVID-19 transmission and the spread of variants like the highly transmissible Delta variant. Getting fully vaccinated is the way we protect you, your family and our community from COVID-19 and the Delta variant.”

What this means is simple, unvaccinated people are at risk. Because of this risk to people for whatever reason they choose not to get vaccinated, the rest of us are forced to wear masks and find many of our daily lives wondering if we will be forced into more restrictions.

Pasadena became one of the first cities to require all of the employees to be vaccinated. It is a city that has a vaccination rate of over 80% among its citizens while only around 60% of its workers are vaccinated. As of today, close to 72% of Burbank’s citizens are vaccinated.

The State of California today announced that all workers will have to have evidence of being vaccinated by August 2 or will have to undergo mandated COVID-19 testing and wear masks. The City of Los Angeles is scheduled to propose its plan for city workers on Wednesday.

Simone McFarland, the City of Burbank’s Public Information Officer was able to provide some stats of the City’s workers by department as of May 29. The overall rate of vaccination matches Burbank’s citizens at 71%, but there are some troubling numbers when you look at a couple of the departments.

Vaccination Rate of City of Burbank departments (Provided by City of Burbank)

Burbank police only show a 57% vaccination rate (10% refused to say one way or the other) within their department while Water and Power are not much better at 64%. Both of these departments deal with the public on a daily basis.

If we want to get out of this pandemic then we need to take action. Burbank needs to require all employees to be vaccinated. The same for the school district and students 12 years old and over.

For this reason, I am challenging the Burbank City Council and the Burbank Unified District School Board to require vaccinations for all employees and students of 12 years old and older.

To start with, City employees have many interactions with the public. If you call for paramedics, they enter your home to give treatment. What if one has not been vaccinated and has just started carrying the virus? Police are dealing with criminals and then hours later are dealing with the public. Is this not a transmission risk if people are not vaccinated?

Schools even have a worse scenario, any unvaccinated school district employee that has contact with a student who is 11 years old or younger can pass on the virus. Children need to be protected until they are eligible to receive the virus. If we can require students to be vaccinated for such diseases as Polio to be enrolled, why not COVID-19? There are guidelines for immunizations required by the State of California, let’s add vaccinations as a requirement for enrollment for students 12 years old and older.

Unfortunately, there is going to be blowback. I can already hear the unions complaining and positioning.

Really unions, if you fight this and just one or your unvaccinated workers comes down with the virus and dies, that death is on you. The death of a healthy person did not have to happen. Please argue that your members have the right to catch the virus, pass it on to others, fill the hospitals and possibly die.

So can vaccinated people still catch the virus? Yes. But they will stay alive.

What bothers me the most is the hypocrisy of people who refuse to get the shot, then film a video from the hospital bed saying what a mistake it was and everyone should get the shot. I have no compassion for that because that was 100% preventable.

Everyone wishes they could ditch the masks and go about their lives as they did a few short years ago. They can, once vaccinations become the norm and not a political fight. In all honesty, it is not right that 70% of the population who has done the right thing now has to continue to wear masks for the 30% who REFUSE and think they are smarter than the science. Yes, the science.

They also argue that the FDA has only given the vaccine emergency use status and it is not been officially approved. That approval is about a month away, so you better start coming up with another excuse.

It is up to the Council and School Board to stop playing politics and get the city on track.

Hopefully, they will be leaders for change because after all, don’t we elect leaders?

UPDATE July 27 at 9:30 pm Vice Mayor Jess Talamantes has requested a report at the next City Council meeting on August 10 for Burbank mandating vaccinations for its employees.

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    1. Thank you for sharing this information and the statistics. Much appreciated.

    2. So much in this column is incorrect. For example, in Israel “95% of the severe patients are vaccinated”.
      “85-90% of the hospitalizations are in Fully vaccinated people.”
      “We are opening more and more COVID wards.”
      “The effectiveness of the vaccine is waning/fading out”

      The vaccines are actually creating the variants. It’s what viruses do.

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