Los Angeles could end its COVID vaccination rule for city workers

Los Angeles could soon end its requirement that city workers be vaccinated against COVID-19.

City officials are recommend According to a recently released report, the Los Angeles City Council will end the requirement as early as early June. The COVID vaccination rule was first approved by city leaders nearly three years ago, as public health officials pushed for vaccination to protect people from the coronavirus.

In a report, City Manager Matt Szabo noted that other local government agencies — including the cities of Long Beach and San Diego and Los Angeles County — had stopped requiring COVID vaccination as a condition of employment. Szabo said LA worker groups were not opposed to ending the requirement.

The LA regulation defined “fully vaccinated” as workers who had received one dose of a single vaccine, such as the Johnson & Johnson shot, or both doses of a vaccine that required two shots, such as the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, but said the definition “may be expanded” if health officials require boosters. Under the city ordinance, employees could apply for an exemption if they “had a medical condition or disability or held sincerely held religious beliefs.”

If city leaders approve ending the requirements, employees who resigned or were laid off because of the vaccination rule could be eligible to be rehired in the same positions as before.

Eighty-six city workers were laid off under the rule, Szabo said; It is unclear how many employees have resigned due to the COVID vaccination requirement, because they are not required to report their reasons.

Los Angeles has faced numerous lawsuits over its COVID vaccination rule. In one of the latest lawsuits, filed in federal court last week, a woman who previously worked as a city accountant said she was denied a religious exemption from the vaccination requirement and ultimately fired from her position. She accused the city of discrimination and said it had ignored its policy of “accommodating sincerely held religious beliefs.”

The move to pause vaccination requirements comes as the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has seen a slight increase in COVID cases, though they cautioned it was too early to say whether it would be a sustainable increase.

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