Full FDA approval triggers deadline for SF workers to get vaccinated or lose their job

With the Pfizer vaccine receiving its full Food and Drug Administration approval, the clock is now ticking for city workers in San Francisco to get vaccinated or lose their jobs. 

The policy announced in June said workers had 10 weeks to get vaccinated after one of the vaccines received final approval. The countdown has begun and the deadline is November 1. 

In just a matter of months, all San Francisco city and county workers will be vaccinated or risk losing their jobs. 

"With the approval of the Pfizer vaccine the clock starts ticking today," said Carol Isen, director of San Francisco's Department of Human Resources. "We're very confident that we will have all city employees vaccinated by the deadline, which will be November 1st."

Isen said the city is well within its rights as an employer to set minimum terms of employment, including vaccinations. She says the final FDA approval means nothing should be in the way of employees getting vaccinated at this point. 

"We've had some outbreaks in city employment and I think that really highlights that this is the step that we need to take as a large employer and I think all employers need to take," said Isen.

San Francisco city workers' unions confirm they are currently negotiating with the city on how the vaccine mandate will unfold.

There was already pushback from more than a dozen city employees over San Francisco's requirement for workers to disclose their vaccination status by the end of July.

Some of the biggest city unions said they want workers to be safe, but they also want to be sure they aren't being targeted. 

Shon Buford from SFFD Local 798, released a statement earlier this month reading in part, "our Firefighters have been working hard to follow all public health guidelines to keep our City safe and Local 798 has been encouraging our members to get the vaccine, however we are strongly opposed to a policy that threatens employees with discipline and potential termination."

While San Francisco was the first to issue a mandate that city employees get vaccinated, it isn''t alone. New York, Los Angeles and St. Louis have all announced similar policies, and just today, Chicago announced that it will be issuing its formal announcement in the next few days requiring all city employees there to be vaccinated as well.