Washington, D.C. to require COVID-19 vaccine, regular testing for city employees
FILE PHOTO: DC Mayor Muriel Bowser. /Getty Images

FILE PHOTO: DC Mayor Muriel Bowser. /Getty Images

More than 36,000 government employees of Washington D.C. will be required to either be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo regular testing, the mayor Muriel Bowser said on Tuesday.

Bowser said the scheme extends to all employees, contractors, interns and grantees, including D.C. public schools' teachers and staff.

The district's existing employees have until September 19 to get fully vaccinated.

Employees will be able to apply for exemptions, including medical or religious exceptions. However, those with exemptions will still have to get weekly COVID-19 tests or potentially face "adverse employment actions".

Bowser, who spoke during a press briefing, added that full COVID-19 vaccination will be a requirement for all new hired people appointed to job vacancies posted on or after August 14.

Authorities have clarified that the strategy does not amount to a mandate as current employees who do not have a vaccination or exemption can remain employed as long as they provide weekly negative COVID-19 test results.

"There is an opportunity, working with our employees and their unions to be able to boost our vaccine numbers much higher than they are now I believe without getting to the point where we have to impose a mandate as a condition of employment on everyone," a D.C. city administrator, Kevin Donahue, said.

Donahue further stated that the vaccine may be reviewed depending on the situation.

"If we conclude based on our experience that what we have in place now is not sufficient for keeping our residents safe, then we'll engage with the unions, we'll engage employees about what adjustments to make to our policies."

Out of 59 percent of city workers who have voluntarily reported their vaccination status, 54 percent said they are fully vaccinated.

Data from the authorities says that about 55 percent of all of its residents have been fully vaccinated.

(With input from agencies)

Search Trends