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City and County of Honolulu releases details of COVID-19 vaccine mandate for employees

The City and County of Honolulu released the details of its COVID-19 vaccine mandate Friday, saying employees will not be given the option for weekly testing unless they are granted a religious or medical exemption.

Employees will be required to provide proof that they are fully vaccinated, have completed a single-dose vaccine or initiated the first dose of a two-dose series by Aug. 16. Employees opting for the two-dose series must receive their second shot by Sept. 16.

Gov. David Ige on Thursday announced that state and county employees would be required to show proof that they are vaccinated against COVID-19 by Aug. 16 or undergo weekly testing under new emergency rules that are a response to the recent surge in coronavirus cases.

Honolulu city employees with medical or religious reasons for not taking the vaccine will be subject to mandatory testing once a week and must request an exemption from the city by Aug. 16. For those employees, details about testing options will be disseminated by their departments.

These vaccine requirements for city employees are enforceable through disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

“The health and safety of our City workforce and the communities they serve is our top priority,” Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi said. “That is why we must take swift action to protect as many people as possible from the harmful effects of COVID-19, especially because of the highly contagious and dangerous delta variant. Coronavirus vaccinations are safe, easy, and effective. Almost all of the cases, hospitalizations, and deaths we are seeing are among the unvaccinated.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose in a two-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.

Mask rules, sanitizing measures, and physical distancing will continue to be enforced at City and County of Honolulu facilities. To find a vaccination site, visit https://www.oneoahu.org/.

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