State and City of Denver push for more vaccinations rather than reinstating mask requirements

Coronavirus

DENVER (KDVR) — Last week, multiple independent sources told FOX31 the City and County of Denver would announce a vaccine requirement for all of its employees. On Monday, Mayor Hancock made it official in a news conference that all city workers will need to be fully vaccinated by Sept. 30.

This coming after the state announced state workers have to undergo regular COVID testing if they aren’t fully vaccinated by Sept. 20. They are stopping short of issuing a mask mandate.

While both the State of Colorado and the City of Denver acknowledge masks can be important to stop the spread, but they say their main priority right now is getting more people vaccinated.

“Masking, social distancing, are important tools to protect those who have not been vaccinated and may be useful for particularly vulnerable people who’ve been vaccinated. The truth of the matter is these measures are no substitute for what we need to shut the virus down for good: more people vaccinated,” Hancock said.

To get those numbers up, the city is requiring all workers to get vaccinated by the end of September. That includes fire and police, people working in long term care facilities and teachers.

“It applies to all schools in the City and County of Denver and it applies to all their employees, so that would be teachers, staff but also service providers that are on site. So, a cleaning crew, for example, that’s under contract to clean a school would also need to be vaccinated,” Hancock said.

The push for more shots coming as State Epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy said more Coloradans are in the hospital with COVID. 

“The last couple of weeks, we’ve seen about a 30% week over week increase. So, we certainly are seeing a pretty rapid increase in cases in the state at this point,” Herlihy said.

She warned that 95.5% of the virus circulating around the state is made up of Delta variant cases. It’s affecting vaccine effectiveness.

“In the last few weeks, the proportion of cases occurring among vaccinated people has grown a little bit more than we expected and is now closer to that 80% effectiveness range. The timing of that increase may suggest it is linked to delta,” Herlihy said.

Governor Polis said he is urging the Federal Drug Administration to review Pfizer’s request to authorize a booster shot, protecting against the variant.

He says some Coloradans have taken matters into their own hands, duping the system using a different name to get a third shot but it’s hard to tell how many have done that. Of course, following that is not suggested.

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