coronavirus vaccine

COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate for CT State Workers Goes Into Effect

Around 4% of state workers were non-compliant as of Tuesday afternoon.

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As of this morning, Connecticut state employees have to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or those who are exempt need to begin getting tested weekly.

As of Tuesday afternoon, 23,600 employees, or 78%, of state employees were are fully vaccinated and 5,500, or 18%, will receive weekly testing, state officials said.

That leaves around 1,200 workers, or 4%, who are still non-compliant with the order.

State employees will need to either be vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to weekly testing by the end of the day Monday or face unpaid furloughs.

"Some of those are inadvertent and we treat them with leniency. Some of those are defiant just won’t do it and they’ve gotta go home," Gov. Ned Lamont said.

State human resources officials are contacting every employee that is still identified as being non-compliant.

The executive order Lamont issued requires all Connecticut state employees, childcare staff and staff of PreK-12 schools statewide to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and for people who are exempt to be tested on a weekly basis.

"No employer should mandate the injection of a vaccine into somebody's body and that’s a pretty strong sentiment of our members, but that’s not the case here," said Andy Matthews of the Connecticut State Police Union.

Matthews said the governor's requirements are not really a vaccine mandate.

"Here in Connecticut we’re fortunate that it’s really a mandated testing option," he added.

The state will pay for the first four weeks of testing for those approved.

On Friday, the State Employees Bargaining Coalition, the union for state employees, sent a letter to Lamont requesting a 20-day extension and said these employees are providing essential services at unprecedented short staffing levels.

Josh Geballe, the governor's chief operating officer, said anyone who chooses not to comply could face being put on unpaid leave.

Those employees could be put on unpaid leave as early as today, but no later than Monday, Oct. 11, as last-minute paperwork comes in, he added.

Last week, Lamont asked the National Guard to be ready to step in if there are staffing shortages.

On Tuesday, the governor said he does not anticipate having to activate the National Guard because he didn't expect the number of non-compliant employees that could be put on leave to drastically affect state operations.

The mandate only applies to employees in the executive branch, not in the judicial or legislative.

The judicial branch did announce the same requirements of its staff and a spokesperson reported that as of Monday, more than 95 percent of its 3,729 employees were in compliance.

The legislative branch expects to implement the requirement sometime this month, according to the executive director of the Office of Legislative Management.

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