DENVER (KDVR) – Municipal employees, school teachers and some healthcare workers in the Mile High City will soon have to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or risk losing their jobs. Compared to elsewhere in the country, Denver already has a high vaccination rate. But concerns over the delta variant have officials working to drive those numbers even higher.
“I am concerned with the delta variant,” said Kaiser Permanente patient Tiffany Stephens. “Vaccinated people can be carriers now. I work at a school.”
Stephens said she is thrilled to learn she will no longer need to wonder if her medical providers have been vaccinated. Kaiser is requiring all of its employees in Colorado and beyond to be vaccinated.
“Certain professionals including teachers and healthcare workers should be required to get it,” Stephens said.
There’s concern among unions that mandates might force some employees out of jobs.
“When you have a mandate, it tends to shut down conversation,” said Rob Gould, president of the Denver Classroom Teachers Association. “It doesn’t increase [conversation], and, so that’s where our concern has been.”
Gould said Mayor Hancock’s Monday announcement came as a surprise.
“[We had] about 10 minutes warning,” he said. “All day I’ve been getting text messages. I’ve been getting phone calls.”
Gould said– while he does not have an exact number– he knows a “high percentage” of Denver teachers have already been vaccinated.
About 25 resignations were submitted Monday to Denver Public Schools, according to a district spokesperson. The district said only a few were “last minute” resignations. Most were in the works from the previous school year, the spokesperson said.
“We are concerned on whether or not our teachers will choose to leave for elsewhere,” Gould said.
Meanwhile, FOX31 is keeping tabs on private employers in Colorado to learn if they will follow the City and County of Denver’s lead.
A spokesperson for the human resources department at the City and County of Denver said she should know on Tuesday how many resignations the Mile High City received on Monday.