Maryland, Virginia to require vaccines for state employees
Maryland and Virginia will be mandating that state employees get vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s (D) office said in a statement on Thursday that all 122,000 state workers will have to show proof that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Sept. 1 or be tested for it every week.
In a news conference, Northam said it was important to “keep state employees safe and keep the people that we serve safe.”
“There is no reason why we need to see more suffering and sickness,” he said.
Northam didn’t elaborate on what would happen if an employee refuses to follow the mandate, but said he expects them to do so.
Officials said that the vaccination rate for state employees matches that of the state overall.
Nearly 73 percent of Virginia’s adults ages 18 and over have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, while 54 percent are fully vaccinated, Northam’s office said.
Separately, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said in a press conference that he will require state employees who work in congregate settings to receive their first vaccine dose by Sept. 1.
Employees who are not vaccinated will have to adhere to “strict face covering requirements” and repeated COVID-19 testing.
“Please, just get the damn vaccine,” Hogan said. “The vaccines are free, safe, they work, and they are widely available everywhere across the state at thousands of distribution points, including hundreds of pharmacies and primary care providers.”
The mandate applies to workers in 48 different state facilities, including health care facilities and ones within the state’s Department of Juvenile Services, Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services and Department of Veterans Affairs.
Hogan encouraged operators of private nursing homes to institute similar vaccination mandates.
Other states, cities and some businesses and universities have instituted similar mandates as coronavirus infections increase once again due to the rise of the delta variant.
President Biden has mandated federal employees and onsite contractors get vaccinated or submit to weekly testing.
—Updated at 4:31 p.m.