The Los Angeles County sheriff is refusing to implement a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for his staff that went into full impact Friday, claiming he would instantly lose a piece of his workforce if he did.
“I’m not forcing anybody,” Sheriff Alex Villanueva mentioned throughout a Facebook Reside Q&A on Thursday. “The difficulty has change into so politicized, there are total teams of staff who’re prepared to be fired and laid off somewhat than get vaccinated, so I don’t wish to be ready to lose 5, 10% of my workforce in a single day.”
Villanueva, who has been hostile towards masks mandates as properly, oversees the biggest sheriff’s division within the nation, with round 18,000 staff. His announcement got here a day after Los Angeles city officials approved a stringent mandate that requires proof of full vaccination for staff and patrons at bars, eating places, sports activities venues and different public places beginning Nov. 4.
Villanueva additionally cited finances cuts in his reasoning, saying that “we have now to choose and select” which county mandates to implement. The county reduce Villanueva’s $3.6 billion budget for 2021-2022 by 4%.
There does seem like vaccine resistance amongst Los Angeles legislation enforcement to adjust to the rule handed in August requiring all county staff be vaccinated towards the virus. Final month, for instance, six Los Angeles Police Division officers sued over town’s model of the rule.
Regardless of Villanueva’s protestations, there’s robust proof that implementing vaccine mandates will get vaccine-hesitant folks to vary their minds somewhat than lose their jobs. Vaccination charges amongst LAPD officers have shot as much as at least 65% following the announcement a few mandate, the police chief mentioned this week. That’s about 20% greater than the numbers from mid-September.
It’s unclear what number of of Villanueva’s staff are vaccinated, however there’s some indication the speed is under common. In mid-August, months after vaccines had been extensively obtainable to everybody, his division mentioned just 26% of its workers had been vaccinated at sheriff’s workplace clinics. That didn’t embrace staff vaccinated elsewhere.