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LA Is Starting To Put Unvaccinated City Workers On Unpaid Leave

Buildings, including City Hall, near a cross street in Little Tokyo.
City Hall as seen from Little Tokyo.
(Chava Sanchez
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L.A. is starting to send unvaccinated workers home — without pay — for refusing to submit to regular testing.

There are already at least 77 city employees on unpaid leave.

Mayor Eric Garcetti says that another 700 or so are in danger of soon being added to the list.

“I want to be clear, the vaccine mandate is not about getting rid of employees,” Garcetti says. “My goal is to keep every employee and to keep every employee safe.

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But Garcetti warns city workers should be prepared to lose their jobs if they’re not vaccinated by the Dec. 18 deadline, unless they get a medical or religious exemption. Thousands are seeking one.

Until then, unvaccinated employees will have to submit to twice-weekly testing.

After several delays, a city-administered testing program is set to start on Friday.

Thousands of employees have yet to show proof of full vaccination. Some police officers and firefighters are suing the city over the mandate. And significant numbers of first responders have yet to comply.

“I’m hoping as those numbers continue to creep up and they are quite strong already, that that won’t tax us,” Garcetti says. “That we will be able to fulfill our city functions, that will be able to keep people safe, respond to our 911 calls.”

Garcetti says there are plans in place to deal with any vacancies after the deadline.

As of Monday, about 80% of city workers had shown proof of full vaccination.

What questions do you have about vaccines?

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