Pennsylvania is requiring state health and prison workers to get fully vaccinated or undergo coronavirus testing on a weekly basis.
The requirement was announced at a press conference Tuesday by Democratic Gov. Tom WolfTom WolfPennsylvania K-12 mask mandate rejected by state court Overnight Health Care — Presented by Rare Access Action Project — White House unshaken by mandate ruling Pennsylvania governor allowing school districts to modify, end mask mandate MORE.
The new policy says state health care facility employees and prison workers must be fully vaccinated by Sept. 7 in order to opt out of the testing program, according to the governor’s office. Any workers hired after Sept. 7 will be required to be fully vaccinated.
“This initiative will affect approximately 25,000 employees working in 24-hour-operated state facilities including state hospitals, state homes for people with intellectual disabilities, veterans homes, community health centers, and state correction institutions,” Wolf's office said in a news release.
Pennsylvania joins a host of other states that have imposed vaccine requirements on some state workers.
“Throughout the pandemic, we have learned that the COVID-19 virus thrives in settings where people live in close proximity such as congregate care. These individuals are often our most vulnerable Pennsylvanians who are unable to leave these facilities and rely on the direct care of the staff. We want our residents and their loved ones to have peace of mind that we are doing everything we can to keep them safe,” Wolf said in a statement.
“It is our responsibility to do our part to protect our most vulnerable neighbors and stop the spread of this highly contagious virus,” he added.
Wolf also announced an additional incentive, saying all fully vaccinated employees under the governor’s jurisdiction will get another day off work if they are vaccinated by Oct. 1.