Deadline Arrives for High-Risk Workers in Santa Clara County to Have COVID-19 Booster

The deadline has arrived for Santa Clara County workers in high-risk settings to have up-to-date COVID-19 vaccinations, meaning booster shots.

In late December, as the omicron variant was spreading fast, county Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody revised the health order to include the booster mandate for county employees in health care, medical first response, skilled nursing facilities, jails and correctional facilities and congregate shelters.

The order requires such workers to have up-to-date vaccinations by Jan. 24.

Any Santa Clara County workers in such high-risk settings that aren’t up to date on vaccinations must be reassigned to lower risk settings or otherwise be prohibited from working in the higher-risk workplace, the order states.

A waiver process has been set up after hospitals protested the mandate, saying they would lose too many workers. Each hospital or department must apply for the waiver on behalf od their employees; individual workers cannot.

The Santa Clara County Fire Department said 40 of its firefighters want waivers.

Meanwhile, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority this week is expected to issue a vaccine mandate for its more than 2,000 employees within the next 60 days. VTA’s biggest labor union said it anticipates the agency will lose 2% to 5% of its workers as a result.

VTA officials said as of last week, 61% of its 2,100 employees are fully vaccinated, and 71% have received at least one dose.

Restaurant workers are not under a mandate to show proof of vaccine, but Dr. Cody said it is recommended for both employees and patrons to show they’re up to date with their shots.

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