Tucson Reports High Employee Vaccination Rate Even As Mandate Faces Legal Challenges
Tucson is looking for other ways to encourage city employees to get immunized for COVID-19 while its vaccine mandate faces legal challenges.
Tucson’s City Council and mayor in mid-August approved a plan that would require municipal workers to get vaccinated. Employees who did not comply would face a five-day suspension. Following Tucson's announcement, Gov. Doug Ducey issued an executive order to block cities from mandating COVID-19 immunizations. Attorney General Mark Brnovich this month told Tucson leaders the city would lose millions in state funding if it carried out plans to penalize its unvaccinated workers.
The city paused enforcement of its suspension policy in response, but city Councilman Steve Kozachik said the city will continue to incentivize vaccines in other ways.
“We will impose things such as mask mandates for employees if they insist on not being vaccinated, bans on travel, bans on training, no access to promotions,” Kozachik said. "We kind of got backed up in this corner. My hope and my expectation, though, is that the litigation is going to wind up in our favor."
In spite of legal challenges, more than 700 city workers have gotten shots since the policy was announced in August, Mayor Regina Romero said in a tweet. Romero said 83% of the city's workers are now vaccinated.