‘Angst between the ranks’ after Richmond mandates vaccines for city employees

Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The City of Richmond announced on Wednesday that city employees will be required to get vaccinated against the coronavirus. The mandate is expected to impact 3,600 employees.

“This pandemic is not over…” said Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney “…the vaccine is effective, and the vaccine is vital.”

This decision is already receiving some pushback from local firefighter and police organizations.

Richmond Fire Fighters Association Local 995 President Keith Andes tells 8News that “there is some angst between the ranks.”

Andes explained that while the union is not currently considering suing the city, he’s “not happy.” He said he thinks there are outstanding questions about the long-term effects of the vaccine.

He also noted that the FDA has not yet granted full approval of any of the vaccines. On Wednesday, a report stated that the Pfizer vaccine was expected to be approved by Labor Day.

Andes said that internal conversations have started around whether or not workers’ compensation would be available for city employees if there were any long-term negative effects of a vaccine.

An official with the Richmond Police Benevolent Association says they have heard officers threaten to quit if not following the vaccine requirement will risk being fired. However, the Richmond Police Benevolent Association is working with legal counsel and the city’s human resources department before making an official statement.

Mayor Stoney estimates 50 to 60 percent of employees are not fully vaccinated, they’ll have to be by October 1.

Speculation swirls if Virginia state employees will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, after Stoney’s announcement about Richmond employees. State Vaccine Coordinator Dr. Danny Avula said Wednesday that the governor was considering a similar mandate.

“I know that the governor is actively considering this, and I expect a decision to be made very soon,” Avula said.

Not long after Stoney’s announcement, Richmond Public Schools Superintendent Jason Kamras said he is “seriously considering” a vaccine requirement for RPS staff.

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