DENVER (CBS4) – Workers in Denver must receive the final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by Wednesday to meet the city’s deadline of full vaccination by Sept. 30. In August, the city announced all city workers and workers in high-risk settings must be fully vaccinated by the end of this month. That includes police, firefighters and sheriff’s deputies along with workers in nursing homes, hospitals, correctional facilities, school and homeless shelters.
“To achieve the highest level of protection and recovery from the pandemic, especially among high-risk and vulnerable groups, we need to maximize vaccinations as quickly as possible, and mandates will do just that,” Mayor Michael Hancock said in a press release in August.
The mandate affects more than 10,000 workers within the city. According to City and County of Denver data, by the end of the week of Sept. 6, city had processed 8,365 full-time workers who had received full vaccination. That’s about 77% of those who are required to get the shot.
Even further, the city has been collecting data related to exemptions from the mandate. Data reported online shows that 747 works have submitted a medical or religious exemption. A total of 465 have been approved, while 57 have been denied. The rest are still “under review.”
According to the city, the form for medical exemptions states that to be considered, employees must have written documentation from a licensed and practicing medical provider confirming they have a condition that could make receiving the vaccine unsafe.
Religious exemptions are a little trickier. The form for religious exemptions requires employees to explain the religious principles or practices that guide their objection to the COVID-19 vaccine, and if they are opposed to all immunizations.
While the City of Denver is requiring workers to get their final dose by Wednesday to be fully vaccinated by the end-of-month deadline, many other employers in the state are mandating the vaccine as well.
The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment reminds those who are getting their vaccine that by law you do get paid leave to get the shot or for side effects that may arise the day after the shot.
“The reason Colorado agreed to paid leave is we don’t want Coloradans to have to choose between their health or their job. A lot of folks can’t afford time off either because they are hourly paid or low wage,” explained Scott Moss, with the CDLE Division of Labor Standards and Statistics. “This law serves to protects Coloradans need to protect their health.”
Moss added that employers cannot ask you to get the shot on your own time, and not during work hours.
“Yes, you can get a lot of life things done on your own time but the premise of paid leave is that you shouldn’t have to choose between the needs like this or your job,” he said.