TAMPA (WFLA) – Tampa became the first city in the bay area to require its city employees to get vaccinated in order to better protect themselves and the community from the spread of the virus.
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor says employees will be required to be vaccinated by Sept. 30 but there will be exceptions.
Individuals who have not been vaccinated will be required to wear an N-95 mask and be tested for COVID once a week and they will have to show those test results each week, also individuals who take an anti-body test and show they have anti-bodies, that will suffice for the vaccination as well.
“Individuals saying that it’s their decision if they get vaccinated, how about the freedom of their co-workers? The people that are sitting next to them who have been vaccinated and may have comorbidities and COVID-19 could be a life-threatening issue for them. They have rights as well,” Mayor Castor said. “This decision may not be the most popular but it is the right thing to do for all of our employees.”
Dr. Jason Wilson with Tampa General Hospital appeared with Castor at the announcement to answer questions about the virus and the vaccine. He says he sees the importance of the vaccine every day.
“I’ve been admitting patients to the hospital every day who are very sick who have not been vaccinated for COVID. I have yet to admit, intubate or take care of a critically ill patient who is that way because they got vaccinated. So, risk, benefit ratio here, every day unvaccinated COVID patients who are very sick, never had any significant side effect of this vaccine, whether it’s this vaccine or any vaccine really,” said Dr. Wilson.
Despite this, many city employees simply do not want the vaccine.
Stephen Simon who represents the transportation workers union in the city says many of his members don’t want the vaccine.
“We have people who have a fear of getting vaccinated. We also have people who have politicized the whole situation and therefore that prevents them from getting vaccinated,” said Simon.
Joe Greco is the President of the Firefighters union in Tampa and says many of his members also don’t want the vaccine and the options out of getting it are important to them.
“This is a real virus with real consequences and I believe city employees should take it very seriously. If you are dead set against it, you will have options, they may not be the most pleasant options but they will be options,” said Greco.