Well, it's official. The deadline for thousands of state workers here in Massachusetts to get vaccinated against the coronavirus has passed. And nearly 1,600 Massachusetts employees either had not proved they were vaccinated or had sought a vaccine exemption by Sunday's deadline.
What does that mean? According to Governor Charlie Baker's office, that means that almost 1,600 people are at risk of losing their jobs. It was more than 8 weeks ago, back in August, that Governor Baker announced that October 17 was the deadline for state workers to be vaccinated.
Governor Baker said that a total of 44,000 executive branch workers and contractors would be required to get a COVID-19 vaccine or face suspension and ultimately lose their jobs. The Baker administration had this to say in a media statement on Monday:
The Baker-Polito administration is encouraged that over 95% of active employees in the executive branch have completed the required attestation form or applied for an exemption and are compliant with Gov. Baker’s executive order. In the coming days, the administration will work with a small number of employees, not in compliance, and implement progressive discipline if necessary.
Governor Baker's office also stressed that terminations of state workers for noncompliance would not be immediate. Disciplinary measures would begin with a 5-day suspension without pay.
According to the media statement, the government does not expect any staffing shortages. You may recall last week Governor Baker activated 250 National Guard troops to help out with any potential staffing shortages.
Answers to 25 common COVID-19 vaccine questions
Vaccinations for COVID-19 began being administered in the U.S. on Dec. 14, 2020. The quick rollout came a little more than a year after the virus was first identified in November 2019. The impressive speed with which vaccines were developed has also left a lot of people with a lot of questions. The questions range from the practical—how will I get vaccinated?—to the scientific—how do these vaccines even work?
Keep reading to discover answers to 25 common COVID-19 vaccine questions.
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