SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- San Francisco has one of the highest vaccinations rates in the country with 75 percent of the population fully vaccinated
But as the Delta variant becomes the dominant strain across the state, San Francisco is updating its health order for those in high-risk workplaces.
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"Speeds up and advances our timeline for getting staff vaccinated in some of our highest risk settings. In our skilled nursing facilities, our residential care facilities for the elderly, in our acute care hospitals, our jails, our shelters," said Dr. Susan Philip, Acting San Francisco Health Officer.
Initially, San Francisco was mandating city workers in high-risk workplaces get vaccinated once the vaccines were fully approved by the FDA. Now, they updated health order mandates for those in high risk settings to be vaccinated by September 15.
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"We expect that is possible that the vaccines will be fully approved by the time that September 15th data comes around, but we also didn't want to wait," said Dr. Philip.
San Francisco's Deputy Sheriffs work with inmates in jails. Kenneth Lomba, President at San Francisco Deputy Sheriffs' Association, responded to this order saying:
"The San Francisco Deputy Sheriffs' are the most ethnically diverse law enforcement department in SF. Our African American and Hispanic members do not want to be forced to take vaccines due to the past history of vaccine abuse against minorities. The SFDSA values and respects the right to choice. We have protective options in place with face masks and testing already. Forcing vaccines is not a San Francisco value."
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These workplaces will need to keep records of employee vaccination status and provide them to the city's public health officer if requested. On page 11 the exemptions are listed for religious beliefs or qualifying medical reasons.
"If you are going to refuse being fully vaccinated, then you can't do certain jobs and certainly if it involves taking care of patients, and being in close contact with patients. I don't see how you can safely do that job and say you are truly caring for your patients," said Dr. Chris Colwell, Chief of Emergency Medicine at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital.
Dr. Colwell says about 94 percent of the hospital's staff is vaccinated.
Luz: "There is about 6 percent of health care workers at SF General who are still unvaccinated. What are some of their concerns?"
Dr. Colwell: "Questions regarding what are the long-term implications, what the short-term implications are, what exactly is happening and what is getting put into my arm when I'm getting the vaccine. Very reasonable questions."
Dr. Colwell along with colleagues are holding vaccine information session to help reach that last percent.
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