East Bay leaders encourage other cities to require employee vaccinate mandates

Antioch in Contra Costa County is the latest city to announce it plans on putting a vaccine mandate in place for city employees. Walnut Creek enacted their vaccination mandate on Monday and say they've already seen an increase in the vaccination rate. Now Antioch's mayor is saying he's following suit and asking others to join him.

When it comes to vaccinations, Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe says his community is lagging, and creating a potential hotspot for COVID. 

"In Antioch the current vaccination rate is 62%. In the last 14 days alone 1,804 Antioch residents have tested positive," said Mayor Thorpe. "For COVID-19. This is the highest rate of cases throughout the county."

The mayor said he is following in the footsteps of Walnut Creek Mayor Kevin Wilk. Wilk said the city is already seeing results of their mandate. 

"Since that announcement was made, we've seen an uptick of 5% of vaccinations just within the city employees in Walnut Creek," said Mayor Wilk.

Now Antioch's mayor says he's drafting a similar plan for city workers in his city. 

"Therefore I will be advancing a measure that aligns with the city of Walnut Creek in mandating COVID-19 vaccinations or weekly testing for city employees, contractors and volunteers," said Thorpe.

Jeff Friedman, who's lived in Antioch for eight years, says with vaccine mandates elsewhere, requiring city employees to vaccinate or submit to regular testing isn't a big ask. 

"Well a vaccination; you look at polio, small pox, things like that, chicken pox. We've been doing this for years," said Friedman. "We've eradicated it, kind of."

Similar vaccine requirements are already in place in other Bay Area cities, including San Francisco, San Jose and Berkeley. Sonoma County approved their vaccine or test mandate for county employees on Tuesday. 

Now Antioch's mayor is joining with Walnut Creek's mayor, encouraging other cities to enact similar measures. "In addition I stand with Mayor Wilk, in calling on all Bay Area city mayors to advance similar mayors that mandate vaccination for city employees, in an expeditious manner."

Antioch mayor's plan for city employee vaccinations will go to the city council next Tuesday, if the council approves it could be in place as soon as next Wednesday.