Pittsburgh area government workers face vaccine mandate

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FILE – This April 2, 2021, file photo shows bridges spanning the Allegheny River in downtown Pittsburgh. Republicans in Congress are making the politically brazen bet that it’s more advantageous to oppose President Joe Biden’s ambitious rebuild America agenda than to lend support for the costly $2.3 trillion undertaking for roads, bridges and other infrastructure investments. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Allegheny County government employees will be required to submit proof of COVID-19 vaccination by Dec. 1 or face termination under a policy announced Wednesday by the western Pennsylvania county’s top elected official.

About 5,000 employees are subject to the new mandate, of whom more than 75% are already vaccinated. The rest will need to get the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine or their second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines on or before Dec. 1 to be considered in compliance, officials said.

Government workers who remain unvaccinated and who do not obtain an exemption will face termination beginning Dec. 2, the county said.

County officials cited the rise of the highly contagious delta variant, which has led to increased COVID-19 caseloads, hospitalizations and deaths, and the need to protect workers and the public.

“This is the right thing for our county and our workforce,” County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said in a statement.

In early August, the county, which includes the city of Pittsburgh, announced that all new hires would need to be vaccinated against the coronavirus and imposed masking and testing requirements on current employees who had yet to get the shot.

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