All Essex County Sheriff’s Department employees, vendors and volunteers must provide proof of COVID-19 vaccinations by Jan. 4.
Essex County Sheriff Kevin F. Coppinger issued the order Tuesday, following a similar executive order issued earlier this year by Gov. Charlie Baker that requires proof of vaccination for all state employees.
“The COVID-19 vaccine is the most effective tool we have to ensure the health and safety of all within our facilities, which is why this department will be moving ahead with a vaccination mandate,” Coppinger said. “We are a congregate care setting, and as such, we must make sure everyone has the vaccination to protect not only themselves and fellow staff, but to also protect every person that we provide care and custody for.”
The Sheriff’s Department is experiencing a spike in additional COVID-19 positive cases similar to local communities. The Center for Disease Control reports “the Delta variant causes more infections and spreads faster” than earlier forms of the virus, adding, “The greatest risk of transmission is among unvaccinated people who are much more likely to get infected, and therefore transmit the virus.”
Each Sheriff’s Department employee must provide proof of vaccination prior to Jan. 4, but religious and medical exemptions will be considered. Of the Department’s 568 employees, 72% have already provided proof of vaccination.