City Urges Employees: Get Vaxxed!
by Anne Mooney / August 19, 2021
At the July 28 Commission meeting, City Manager Randy Knight was asked to develop an incentive program to encourage City employees to become vaccinated against COVID-19. On Monday, Aug. 2, Knight introduced a voluntary incentive program that awarded any employee with proof of full vaccination a $150 bonus plus a day off with pay. To qualify for the incentive program, employees would have to produce proof of full vaccination by September 15.
Weekly COVID tests required for unvaccinated employees
Beginning September 20, employees who are unable or unwilling to present proof of vaccination will undergo mandatory weekly testing. Any unvaccinated employee who is unable to provide a negative COVID-19 test result each week will be placed on leave without pay until they are able to produce a negative test result.
65 Percent by September 15
The City’s goal is for 65 percent of employees to be fully vaccinated by September 15. If fewer than 65 percent of employees participate in the voluntary vaccination program, the Commission will call a special meeting to determine next steps.
The City employs a total of 540 people; 472 are full-time, 47 are part-time, and 21 are seasonal or temporary. The 65 percent threshold, to be achieved by September 15, translates to 351 employees. According to Communications Director Clarissa Howard, as of August 18, 224 employees had provided proof of full vaccination.
KN95 masks available on request
In the meantime, KN95 masks are available to all employees upon request, and the City is following CDC guidelines for wearing face coverings while in public indoor facilities where 6-foot social distancing cannot be observed.
What is ‘herd immunity?’
The goal of vaccinating 65 percent of employees is based on an arbitrary estimate of vaccination levels required to reach ‘herd immunity.’ The percentage of people who need to be immune to achieve herd immunity varies with each disease, and the medical community does not yet know the level required for COVID-19.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “herd immunity against measles requires about 95% of a population to be vaccinated. The remaining 5% will be protected by the fact that measles will not spread among those who are vaccinated. For polio, the threshold is about 80 percent.”
“The proportion of the population that must be vaccinated against COVID-19 to begin inducing herd immunity is not yet known,” according to the WHO website. “This is an important area of research and will likely vary according to the community, the vaccine, the populations prioritized for vaccination, and other factors.
“Until we better understand COVID-19 immunity, it will not be possible to know how much of a population is immune or how long that immunity will last, let alone can we make future predictions.”
Thank you for your leadership, Winter Park. The bonus and day off is just icing on the cake. Get vaccinated
—protect yourself and our community! This nurse thanks you.
It would be helpful if everyone got vaccinated. But some people don’t get it and continue to put their communities at risk. Look at Winter Park High School having a freaking pep rally the other night! Yeah, great leadership admins. Everyone should be masking up indoors period. Our hospitals are filled to the max and people with non-Covid emergencies are waiting hours to get treatment. People are dying and it’s preventable. And we know why. So the city isn’t really doing anything unusual with this. Just protecting the community. Why did it take so long?
I feel your pain Winter Park! My friend Charles is dead.
We’ve 50 employees and our ratio of vaccinations is similar. I read, I read publications where lying is frowned upon. Charles is dead.
I’ve earned trust over decades in this community. Charles wasn’t very sophisticated but he was my friend, he trusted me. I like to think my employees trust me. An email to our team brought a few folks out to get vaccinated. Charles is dead.
A few in our team said they thought COVID was getting better in Florida. I read, not everyone does and that doesn’t make them bad people.
Charles trusted me, I had earned his his respect, a position of persuasive power, I chose not to use it. Charles is dead
I am sorry to hear about Charles. This pandemic is brutal. We’ve all learned as time has passed. Moving forward, you are in a position to make things better for your colleagues! Let’s get vaccinated in honor of Charles and his family.
This story, and others like it being repeated all across our Nation points up the corner we have painted ourself into by being hypersensitive in catering to every individual’s personal claimed rights, based on their stated beliefs, religious, ethical or otherwise.
The fact that the City, Months ago, could not demand as a condition of employment , that all employees, except those who have scientifically documented reasons that they can’t be vaccinated, is unacceptable.
Over the Years I have had employees who for religious reasons would not accept blood transfusions. That decision only affects them, but the failure of employees to get vaccinated in this instance puts coworkers and the general Public at risk.
Defining individuals “rights” will not always be easy, but in this instance the wisdom of getting all who do not have a valid medical reason , vaccinated as a condition of continued employment is a clear cut decision that WP should insist on.
Yeah, I know, as a practical matter we can’t do it because the “ Rights” lawyers will have us in Court for Years, but at some point we have to say enough.
Get vaccinated! The city should also offer to pay for an antibody test for employees who do wish to receive the vaccine. Many have already had Covid-19 and may not know it. See infections versus symptomatic: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/burden.html.
Then provide those with a positive antibody test the same benefits.
This is a common misperception. Antibodies developed from exposure do not protect from getting newer covid strains. Antibodies plus vaccination gives a person the best defense. https://directorsblog.nih.gov/2021/06/22/how-immunity-generated-from-covid-19-vaccines-differs-from-an-infection/
Thank you John for your comment. The unvaccinated are keeping the vaccinated hostage. We all had to get small pox vaccination and then the one for polio and no one could refuse. There is only one way to end this and that is to GET VACCINATED!
Each of you got your vaccine voluntarily.
Nobody forced you into getting the vaccine.
Please extend the same courtesy to the City of Winter Park employees who make your quality of life possible.
The City vaccination program is entirely voluntary.