Published Date: 2021-08-16
August 5 CDPH vaccine mandate order does not apply to prison staff
Federal Receiver seeks court order to implement recommendation for a vaccine mandate for all prison staff
CAPT has recently confirmed with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation that the August 5 vaccine mandate order for health care professionals issued by the California Department of Public Health is not applicable to state prisons or the health care staff employed there. Therefore, as of now, Bargaining Unit 18 employees employed by CDCR do not have to be fully vaccinated by September 30 as a condition of employment.
As this news may bring some staff a great sigh of relief, a vaccine mandate for prison staff may be forthcoming. On August 4, Federal Receiver Clark Kelso filed a report and recommendation in district court stating the necessity for mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for all institutional staff. The recommendation states “that access by workers to CDCR institutions be limited to those workers who establish proof of vaccination (or established a religious or medical exemption to vaccination.)” The report also recommends vaccination for persons incarcerated who want to work outside the institution or have in-person visitation.
The receiver’s recommendation cites the California Department of Public Health’s descriptors for its vaccine mandate order as applying equally to CDCR prisons. The receiver also concludes that any delay in a vaccine mandate policy that waits until the next wave will be too late to produce preventive results.
The court set the matter for hearing on September 16. If the court orders the implementation of the receiver’s recommendation, the vaccine mandate timeline for prison personnel will likely begin shortly after that.
Employees may refuse vaccination for either a Religious Belief or for a Qualifying Medical Reason(s). To receive a vaccine exemption, you must file a signed declination form with the facility operator that states the reason for your declination. Medical exemptions must be substantiated with a written statement signed by a physician or other licensed medical professional. A medical exemption shall indicate probable duration, whether it is specific, unknown, or permanent. The medical statement does not need to specify or include the medical condition or disability. Vaccine-exempt employees will be required to undergo twice-weekly testing and masking.
If you have any questions or would like more information, please get in touch with your local chapter for assistance.
August 16, 2021 | Download Flier