DC workers face discipline for not getting vaccinated

D.C. officials outlined the punishments facing city workers who don’t comply with the District’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate during a call with members of the D.C. Council Friday.

City Administrator Kevin Donahue said D.C. has to follow the discipline process laid out in the various contracts with city workers, so processes will differ, but he used school workers, such as teachers as an example. He described the steps as: sending a notice of noncompliance, then a written reprimand, followed by suspension, followed by termination.

Some workers in the health profession cannot work without a license.

“For some … employees, such as a paramedic who loses a license, that is cause for immediate suspension,” Donahue said.

The percentage of D.C. workers getting the vaccine has ticked up, according to numbers provided by Donahue during the call.

At the Nov. 1 deadline, 79% of D.C. Public Schools staff reported being fully vaccinated, including 85% of teachers.

As of Friday, Donahue said “90% of our teachers are fully or partially vaccinated.” The number does not include substitute teachers in the pool who, Donahue said, do not actually come into schools.

For Fire and EMS, Donahue said, 86% of the workforce is fully or partially vaccinated.

Donahue also said there are 311 exemption requests from D.C. government health workers, the vast majority of whom are Fire and EMS employees.

According to the city administrator, letters of noncompliance will go out Friday and into early next week, and the letters of reprimands will go out shortly thereafter.

Earlier in the month, Mayor Muriel Bowser said vaccinations for those employees are the most effective tool to slow the spread of the virus.

“It’s important that they’re vaccinated so that our children are protected and we can keep schools open,” Bowser said.

Donahue said more than 3,000 D.C. kids have gotten their shots.

Details on where you can get vaccinated in D.C. are online.

More Coronavirus News

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

WTOP’s Valerie Bonk contributed to this report.

Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Editor and reporter for WTOP.com. He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

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