Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto Imposes Vaccine Mandate For All City Employees
The executive order applies to all full-time and part-time city employees, along with both paid and unpaid interns.
City employees in Pittsburgh will soon be required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine or face “employment actions,” including unpaid administrative leave or termination.
The City of Pittsburgh announced Monday that all city employees without a religious or medical exemption will be required to be fully vaccinated by Dec. 22. An individual is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose in a two-dose series, or one week after a single-dose vaccine.
The announcement was made through an executive order issued by Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto mandating the vaccines, just a day before voters head to the polls to vote in his replacement in the mayoral election. In the order, he cited the coronavirus’ continued threat, especially with regards to the more infectious and virulent delta variant.
Infection rates remain high throughout Allegheny County, with the Health Department reporting 472 new cases on Oct. 29. (The most recent data set has been delayed, according to the Health Department’s Twitter page.)
COVID Act Now, a real-time vaccine and virus tracker, also reports that the risk level in Allegheny County is still considered “very high” as of Nov. 1.
“We have all been through so much over the past year and a half as we watched COVID-19 shut down our businesses, our schools and sent people to shelter in place,” Peduto said in a press release. “The science is clear that getting the vaccine protects us from the severity of COVID and its variants that are once again filling our hospitals.”
Exemptions can be submitted to the city’s human resources department, according to the order. Officials may interview employees requesting exemptions, as well as their manager and medical provider. Anyone with an exemption will undergo weekly COVID-19 testing.
The order includes full-time and part-time workers, along with both paid and unpaid interns.
It also reiterates that vaccination is effective in preventing both infection and death, “as CDC reports show that unvaccinated people are 4.5 times more likely to contract coronavirus and are 11 times more likely to die from their infection than those who are vaccinated.”
Likewise, the order highlights that natural immunity to COVID-19 is limited, and low vaccination rates fuel increased rates of transmission. In addition to masking and social distancing, which is already required of city employees in accordance with CDC guidelines, a vaccine mandate will offer additional protection to both city workers and the public they serve.
“Our employees provide essential public services on the front lines, interacting directly with our critical communities like seniors, youth and those experiencing emergencies. It is our responsibility to act collectively to protect both our employees and the public so that we can move on and continue our recovery from the pandemic,” Peduto said.
Employees who do not comply with either the vaccine requirement or receive an exemption before the December deadline “will be subject to employment actions, including unpaid administrative leave and/or discipline up to and including termination, until they show proof of vaccination,” according to the order.