Gov. Baker issues vaccine mandate for executive department workers
By PHILIP MARCELO
BOSTON (AP) — Tens of thousands of state workers in Massachusetts will need to prove they’re fully inoculated against COVID-19 by October or risk losing their jobs, Gov. Charlie Baker announced Thursday.
The Republican said all executive department employees will need to provide vaccine proof by Oct. 17, arguing its the “best and most effective way people can protect themselves, their loved ones and their community from the virus.”
Thursday’s executive order is stricter than mandates imposed by Boston’s mayor and governors in New York, California and elsewhere, which also give government workers the option to submit to regular COVID-19 testing in lieu of getting inoculated. Washington state is among those that have required state workers to be vaccinated without the option of regular testing.
The order impacts roughly 42,000 workers, including both those working in-person and those working remotely.
Baker, who had resisted prior calls to impose such a mandate, said executive department employees who are not vaccinated or approved for an exemption by the deadline will be face disciplinary action, “up to and including termination.”
He added that the administration will provide guidance in the coming weeks for employees seeking a medical exemption or who object to vaccinations for religious reasons.
But even as Baker issued the new mandate for certain state workers, others have called on him to take bolder steps.
Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley and other leading Democrats have urged mandating vaccinations for all school staff. The Massachusetts Teachers Association has also voiced support for mask mandates for students and teachers.