CP photo: Ryan Deto
The Allegheny County Courthouse in Downtown Pittsburgh
To help reduce the number of COVID-19 cases in Allegheny County, the county executive, Rich Fitzgerald, announced that county employees must receive the COVID-19 vaccine by Dec.1
. Fitzgerald announced this new policy on Sept. 29, which states that approximately 5,0000 Allegheny County employees are required to be vaccinated or face termination.
"As we continue to see cases of COVID in our county, and different populations being affected than were previously, it is even more important that our workforce be protected so that the public that we serve is protected as well," Fitzgerald said in a statement. "The CDC, the FDA, the PA Department of Health, the county Health Department and even the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are in agreement that vaccines are highly effective at protecting most fully vaccinated people against symptoms and severe disease from COVID. This is the right thing for our county and our workforce."
A day later, the Allegheny County treasurer’s office announced it has also adopted the exact requirement for its staff. Allegheny County Treasurer John Weinstein said in a statement on Sept. 30
that he encourages everyone to do their part to help reduce cases and consult with their physician if necessary to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
All county and treasury staff employees must provide proof of being fully vaccinated, which means employees must have received their second dose of the two-shot Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on or before Dec. 1. If employees are not vaccinated, they could be fired for not following the new policy guidelines.
According to the county, 75% of the employees are vaccinated, with over 700 employees receiving vaccinations after August. Fitzgerald encouraged other county agencies also to embrace the same guidelines, including courts, county council, and the independently elected offices of the controller, district attorney and sheriff.
Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner supported Fitzgerald’s decision to require all County employees to be vaccinated, and said Controller department is following suit. She said in a statement
country employees work with many in-person visits from residents — especially seniors in our Kane Regional Centers — as well as incarcerated people in the Allegheny County Jail, and being vaccinated helps county employees conduct in-person services safely.
“No resident and no county employee deserves to be exposed to the dangerous and highly transmissible Delta variant by a service provider or co-worker employed by Allegheny County,” Wagner said in a statement. “This sensible decision will make our workplaces and facilities safer for all, especially vulnerable congregate settings like the Kane Centers and the jail, and help lead to finally bringing this pandemic under control in our community. “