BY EMILY MIBACH
Daily Post Staff Writer
Institutions of higher education and some health facilities are requiring all employees to have Covid vaccinations, but other employers have looser rules, the Daily Post learned in a survey of local work places.
Both the Foothill-DeAnza and San Mateo County community college boards have required employees and students to have Covid vaccines before attending in-person classes.
Foothill-DeAnza Chancellor Judy Miner told the board on June 14 that students would feel more comfortable with a vaccination mandate on campus.
The San Mateo County Community College District is adapting the Foothill-DeAnza plan to its three campuses, Chancellor Mike Claire told his board on July 14.
Stanford Provost Persis Drell announced on April 22 that all students must be vaccinated to return to campus this fall. On May 5, Drell announced that faculty, staff and postdocs also need to get vaccinated before the fall semester.
Stanford Health Care is requiring all employees to be vaccinated by Aug. 15, to protect its patients and workers, according to spokeswoman Julie Greicius.
More than 75% of Stanford’s employees are vaccinated. Employees not wishing to get vaccinated can apply for medical or religious accommodations, Greicius said.
Two hospitals not requiring them
So far, El Camino Hospital in Mountain View and Sequoia Hospital in Redwood City are not requiring employees to be vaccinated.
Sequoia requires employees to wear masks in the hospitals regardless of vaccination status, said External Communications Manager Kevin Kimbrough. About 75% of Sequoia employees have been vaccinated, he said.
At El Camino, 92% of employees have been vaccinated.
Sutter, which controls PAMF and Mills-Peninsula hospital in Burlingame, did not respond with information on its vaccination policy.
Although Stanford is the only health care facility that is requiring vaccinations, multiple long-term care facilities are requiring employees to be vaccinated, the AARP reports. Among the facilities that the AARP reports requiring vaccinations among employees are Atria Senior Living, which has facilities in Sunnyvale, Burlingame, San Mateo and Foster City, and Silverado, which has a location in Belmont.
The two companies have all reported 95% or more of their employees have been vaccinated, according to AARP’s report.
As for K-12 public schools, such as Palo Alto Unified School District, most are waiting for the state to determine whether the vaccine is mandatory, similar to other required vaccines for school-aged children.
The state has not yet done that, possibly waiting for the FDA to approve the Covid vaccines for all school-aged children.
Menlo Park City School District spokeswoman Parke Treadway said roughly 90% of the district’s employees have been vaccinated despite the district not having a requirement.
Cities and counties are not yet requiring employees to be vaccinated. San Mateo County is asking employees who work in county buildings or other job sites to “self attest” that they are vaccinated, according to county spokeswoman Michelle Durand. If employees are vaccinated they do not have to wear a mask, Durand said.
The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office does not require vaccinations, but 70% of employees are vaccinated, said Deputy Russell Davis. Those who are not vaccinated must be tested regularly.
Ironically, the Santa Clara County Public Health Department issued a statement today (July 22) urging all employers “to consider implementing workplace Covid-19 safety policies that require their workforce to get fully vaccinated as soon as possible.”
The statement added, “Employers can play a critical role in ensuring a safe workplace environment and boosting vaccination rates among working-age individuals by requiring vaccination as a condition of employment, with very limited exceptions for medical exemptions or strongly held religious beliefs.”
East Palo Alto City Manager Jaime Fontes told the council on Tuesday the city could consider a mandatory vaccination for employees, but is waiting for the city attorney’s office to review the issue.
The city of Palo Alto’s position on mandatory vaccinations was not known, as an inquiry to the city went unanswered. The Post has filed a California Public Records Act records request for the city’s current policy.
Atherton City Manager George Rodericks said in a written report to the council that since non-vaccinated employees already have to wear masks at work, he does not recommend having a vaccine mandate. The council was slated to discuss the issue at its meeting Wednesday night.
San Francisco officials announced last month that its employees will be required to get vaccinated when a vaccine gets full federal approval.
Courts allow vaccination requirements
Across the nation, there have been lawsuits against vaccination requirements, but at least two judges have ruled the requirements are legal.
Last month, a federal judge in Texas threw out a vaccination requirement challenge from 117 Houston hospital employees. Earlier this month, a federal judge in Indiana ruled that it can require its students and employees to get vaccinated after eight students sought to block the mandate.