Somerville Announces Vaccination Requirement for All City Staff
All City staff must be fully vaccinated by November 1, 2021
Certain exemptions and accommodations will be allowed
Somerville School Committee to review vaccination requirements for the Somerville Public Schools at Monday, August 30, meeting
To better protect the health and safety of staff and the public, Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone announced today that all City of Somerville employees must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of November 1, 2021. The City joins municipalities, states, and employers across the nation, including the U.S. military, who are taking this preventive step to help contain the spread of the virus. Employees will be allowed to apply for certain exemptions.
“COVID-19 is surging once again, and we must use every tool available to rein in the devastating impacts of this virus. Vaccination is the most effective tool we have to reduce severe and fatal illness from this disease. To protect our staff and the public we serve, and to do our part to keep the recovery going, we are requiring staff vaccination. We’ll be doing our best to make this easy for employees, and we will be working with our union representatives to develop reasonable accommodations for medical and other exceptions,” said Mayor Curtatone.
City staff includes all City of Somerville full-time, part-time, and temporary employees working for any City department or City public safety agency, excluding school staff. The Somerville Public Schools have been developing proposals for vaccination requirements in consultation with school-based unions. School vaccine requirements must be approved by the Somerville School Committee, which will take up the matter at their next meeting on Monday, August 30.
Requests for medical and religious accommodations will be considered on a case-by-case basis. City officials are seeking to develop fair and reasonable protocols for enforcement and accommodations in collaboration with employee union representatives.
Individuals are considered to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 two weeks after their final vaccine dose. Thus to be fully vaccinated by November 1, all City staff must receive the final dose of their chosen COVID-19 vaccine by October 18. For the two-dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, full vaccination is two weeks after receiving the second dose. For the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, full vaccination is two weeks after receiving the one and only dose.
To further ease access, the City will be offering staff vaccination clinics and sharing information on other vaccination providers. Staff will be able to report their vaccination status via a secure, HIPAA-compliant online portal, and the program will be administered with full confidentiality by the City’s Department of Human Resources.
“The vaccines are proving to be highly effective in preventing serious cases of COVID-19, even with the variants,” said Somerville’s Health and Human Services Director Doug Kress. “That is why it is vital for everyone who is eligible to get the vaccine. There are still tens of thousands of people regionally and more than 100 million people nationally who do not have this protection, just as a highly contagious variant is causing a new round of outbreaks. Until we have the overwhelming majority of our population vaccinated, the potential for this virus to do serious harm will persist.”
“As a public entity, the City must fulfill its responsibility to safeguard public health. But as our staff get their vaccines, I’m urging the remaining unvaccinated members of our community to also step up to protect us all,” said Mayor Curtatone. “We need you to get vaccinated to protect children under 12, to protect the vulnerable, and to spare doctors and nurses the burden and heartbreak of more COVID cases. Do this to shield your loved ones from the worry or grief that will come if you become ill or die from this awful disease. Get vaccinated to keep the recovery moving forward. I know our community cares about each other. I see it every day in so many ways. Let’s show it by driving up our vaccination numbers too.”
Vaccination is available for free to all persons in Massachusetts age 12 and older. No insurance, no I.D., and no immigration information is required. Walk-in, no appointment options are widely available. To find out how and where to get vaccinated locally, visit somervillema.gov/vaccine or contact 311 at 617-666-3311.
For more information and regular COVID-19 updates, visit www.somervillema.gov/coronavirus and sign up for City alerts at www.somervillema.gov/Alerts. We urge you to sign up for every alert method you are able to receive: phone call, text, email. Also follow FB.com/SomervilleCity and @SomervilleCity.