Tucson votes to terminate city employees who aren’t vaccinated against COVID by Dec. 1

Oct 19, 2021, 4:46 PM | Updated: Oct 21, 2021, 1:04 pm
(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)...
(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — The Tucson City Council voted Tuesday afternoon to terminate city employees who aren’t vaccinated against COVID-19 by Dec. 1.

The motion passed 4-3 after Tucson Mayor Regina Romero and council members Steve Kozachik, Lane Santa Cruz and Karin Uhlich voted for the motion.

Council members Paul Cunningham, Nikki Lee and Richard Fimbres opposed.

The city in a policy that went into effect Aug. 13 required all of its employees to submit proof they have received at least one COVID-19 vaccination by Aug. 24 or be subject to a five-day, unpaid suspension unless approved for an exemption or accommodation.

Tucson with the time frame of the requirement hoped to have all city employees other than those who were granted exemptions or accommodations be fully vaccinated by Oct. 4.

Out of the estimated 1,000 unvaccinated employees at the time the policy went into effect, the city said Tuesday approximately 300 have chosen not to be in compliance.

The city said 73 employees are non-compliant because they did not receive a vaccination shot by Aug. 24, while approximately 50 employees did not provide an attestation describing their vaccination status.

Approximately 180 employees who had their accommodation or exemption request denied are non-compliant because they failed to receive any vaccination shot by Oct. 5, the city said.

City employees who remain unvaccinated now face a deadline of compliance of Dec. 1 or are served with an intent to terminate with a final discipline decision no later than Dec. 17.

More than 90% of Tucson police officers and firefighters are fully vaccinated, while the city’s general population stands at about 52%.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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Tucson votes to terminate city employees who aren’t vaccinated against COVID by Dec. 1