Chula Vista

One-Third of Encinitas' Firefighters, Paramedics Remain Unvaccinated: City Officials

At least three cities in San Diego County are mandating COVID-19 vaccines for all municipal workers

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Vaccine mandates vary city by city in San Diego County cities, including in San Diego, Encinitas and Del Mar, which have all implemented COVID-19 vaccine mandates among city staff.

For example, officials from Encinitas said that 100% of their non-public safety employees have complied with their COVID-19 vaccine policy, but the city is still facing challenges when it comes to getting city firefighters and paramedics on board: 67% of employees represented by the fire union are vaccinated, according to city officials, leaving 33% who have yet to comply with the mandate.

"I feel for our brothers and sisters that are firefighters and strongly have opinions that they are living by, but I'm actually pro-mandate because I think, right now more than ever before, it doesn’t matter your personal belief system," Encinitas resident Pablo Miller told NBC 7. "It's about safety of others."

Others disagree and believe a testing option would be fair.

"I just think they should have a choice, and the choice being which way they pay for their own testing or the city pays for their testing," said Encinitas resident Shawn Wirth, who also disclosed she chose to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Meanwhile, the city of Del Mar said its compliance rate is 99% for full-time employees and 100% of part-time employees, noting that the percentage of compliance includes employees who have either been vaccinated as required by the policy or had a medical or religious exemption approved.

As for the employees who do not follow the mandate, both Del Mar and Encinitas will have those employees terminated.

"I think for city workers, it's necessary because they come in contact with so many people," Miller said.

The city of Encinitas deadline to get vaccinated has been extended until Jan. 31 while the city and fire union negotiate on the mandate.

As for the City of Carlsbad and Chula Vista: They currently do not have a vaccine mandate but both municipalities are requiring new employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 upon hiring.

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