City of Oakland to Mandate Employee Vaccinations

Date Posted: August 26th, 2021 @ 9:52 AM
Last Updated: August 26th, 2021 @ 9:59 AM
COVID-19 vaccine

Oakland, CA – To provide a safe and healthy workplace for City employees and their families, protect the public we serve, and reduce the risk of community transmission—and in alignment with public health guidance—today City Administrator Ed Reiskin released a draft Mandatory Vaccination Policy to the City’s union labor partners for their review and comment.

Under the policy, all employees must, as a condition of employment: (1) report their vaccination status to the City no later than October 15, 2021; and (2) be fully vaccinated and verify that vaccination status to the City not later than November 1, 2021, unless the employee has applied for an exemption, and unless stricter State or Federal legal requirements apply. In summary:

  • The Decision to mandate vaccination as a condition of employment is based on strong recommendations from Alameda County Public Health, the California Department of Public Health, the CDC, and the recent rise in COVID-19 cases.
  • The Goal is to secure employee and community health and safety.
  • Who is Covered. The policy applies to all City workers, both full- and part-time, interns, and volunteers. Contractors would not be covered by this policy.
  • Deadline for Verification. The City is requiring employees to submit their vaccination status by October 15, 2021. This allows sufficient time for the final vaccination dose to become effective and for the employee to achieve “fully vaccinated” status by the November 1, 2021, effective date.
  • Effective Date of Full Vaccination Status. November 1, 2021 is the effective date of the requirement for employees to be fully vaccinated (as defined in the policy).
  • On Paid Time. City workers can take up to 2 hours paid time to for each vaccination.
  • Exemption. The policy incorporates a system for requesting exemptions for medical reasons or for sincerely held religious beliefs.
  • Testing in lieu of vaccination (limited to those granted exemption). Accommodations for exemptions may include frequent periodic testing.
  • Deadline for Exemption Request. Application for an exemption must also be submitted by October 15, 2021, to allow for consideration and processing of exemption requests before the November 1, 2021 fully vaccinated effective date.
  • Union Partners. The City is working closely with our labor partners for comment and impacts discussion.

In addition to requesting feedback from the City’s labor partners, staff are in the process of testing a new online portal for employees to upload their proof of vaccination. Following the comment period and launch of the portal, the final policy will be announced and implemented.

BACKGROUND

The public health data is clear: vaccination is the most effective tool we have to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, protect against hospitalizations and death, and bring an end to this pandemic that has killed 4.4 million people around the globe. Vaccinations are safe and effective and, at this point, essential; they are free and easy to get.

Public health experts at the Federal, State, and local levels warn that COVID-19 poses a more significant risk to individuals who are not fully vaccinated. Current cases in Alameda County are more than three times higher among individuals who are not vaccinated compared to those who are.

Media Contact

Portrait of Citywide Communications Director, Karen Boyd

Karen Boyd
Citywide Communications Director
City Administrator's Office
kboyd@oaklandca.gov
510-238-6365