Pittsburgh requiring city employees to be vaccinated against covid-19 – TribLIVE

Pittsburgh is requiring all city employees without medical or religious exemptions to be fully vaccinated against covid-19 by Dec. 22, officials announced Monday.

Employees are considered to be fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving a second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or two weeks after one dose of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson.

The city will host vaccine clinics for employees at city facilities in an effort to help workers meet the deadline.

“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,” Mayor Bill Peduto said in a statement. “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.”

Peduto issued an executive order mandating the vaccines Monday, noting that covid-19 transmission in Allegheny County remains high. The rate of covid-19 cases in the county is 350 to 400 people per day, and county’s rate of vaccination is around 66%, officials wrote.

Exemptions from the mandate based on medical or religious grounds can be submitted to the city’s human resources department, according to the executive order. City officials may interview employees requesting such exemptions, along with their manager and a medical provider.

Any employee who is granted an exemption will face weekly covid-19 testing.

Employees who do not comply with the mandate or receive an exemption before the Dec. 22 deadline could face “employment actions,” including unpaid administrative leave or termination, officials said.

The order includes full-time and part-time workers, as well as paid and unpaid interns.

“Our employees provide essential public services on the front lines, interacting directly with our critical communities like seniors, youth and those experiencing emergencies,” Peduto said. “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.”

The executive order comes as some cities that have implemented similar requirements face pushback — such as New York City, where one in six city employees continue refusing vaccination.

In Allegheny County, a mandate requiring all executive branch employees to be fully vaccinated is facing a legal challenge from the union representing the Allegheny County Police Department.

Julia Felton is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Julia at 724-226-7724, jfelton@triblive.com or via Twitter .