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Thousands of LA City Workers Unvaccinated As Mandate Deadline Looms

Los Angeles City Hall -- an art-deco style building with a pyramidal rooftop and white facade.
Los Angeles City Hall.
(Chava Sanchez for LAist)
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Seventy percent of the city of L.A.'s 53,000 workers are at least partially vaccinated, up from one-half in August.

The city’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate takes effect on Tuesday, Oct. 19.

In total, about 21% of city workers have declined to give vaccine information or haven’t reported their status. About 8% of city workers report not being vaccinated at all.

A table showing each city department and the number of employees who are vaccinated and unvaccinated.
(Courtesy of the L.A. Mayor's Office)
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The data was released Thursday by the Mayor’s office and broken down by department.

A table showing the number of vaccinated and unvaccinated L.A. City employees by department.
(Courtesy of the L.A. Mayor's Office)

It’s unclear when unvaccinated employees who do not receive an exemption will be terminated.

The LAPD has 3,700 unvaccinated personnel and thousands of exemptions requested, the most of any department, though it is also the largest, with 9,000 sworn officers and 3,000 civilian employees.

Six LAPD employees have filed a federal lawsuit against the mandate, claiming it violates their constitutional protections against illegal search and seizure without due process.

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In a statement last month, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti wrote: “This policy allows for medical and religious exemptions to protect certain workers’ health and constitutional rights, but let me be absolutely clear: we will not tolerate the abuse of these exemptions by those who simply don’t want to get vaccinated.”

The mayor added: “To anyone thinking about filing a disingenuous exemption request, I strongly urge that you reconsider. Every request will be carefully vetted, and our goal will always be to get as many Angelenos vaccinated as possible."

The next step will be giving L.A. city employees and staff the “procedures and forms” for their official exemption requests, personnel general manager Wendy Macy wrote in a memo that was released in September.

L.A. city workers who receive a vaccine exemption will be tested weekly for COVID-19 if they report to a worksite. Those working remotely are subject to testing on an ad hoc basis.

In August, the California medical board warned physicians they cannot grant exemptions without conducting an appropriate exam or without a legitimate medical reason for the exemption.

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If a doctor is caught issuing exemptions without good reason, they “may be subjecting their license to disciplinary action.”

What questions do you have about the pandemic and health care?
Jackie Fortiér helps Southern Californians understand the pandemic by identifying what's working and what's not in our health response.