The St. Louis County Council voted along party lines on Tuesday night to pass a vaccine mandate for county employees. The bill had been debated for a little bit longer than a month and had faced strong opposition from the Republican members of the council.
The county employees required to get vaccinated does not include political appointees or police officers. Employees who refuse or those who have an exemption will have to mask and get tested regularly.
Citing the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, speakers during a public comment portion of the meeting — a hotbed of anti-vaccine and anti-mask conspiracy theories in past meetings — spouted numbers about people dying from the COVID-19 vaccine. The video of the county council meeting has been taken down by YouTube for misinformation.
The CDC and VAERS say that the statistics cited do not claim the vaccine caused deaths or illness; they instead report the number of people who died of any cause or became sick at any point after getting the vaccine.
“The FDA requires healthcare providers to report any death after COVID-19 vaccination to VAERS, even if it’s unclear whether the vaccine was the cause,” the website reads.
While I believe in employee choice, this morning I filed the "County Employee COVID-19 Health Protection Act." If county employees are forced to make the decision to either take the vaccine or lose their job, they should have protections in case they opt to take the vaccine. pic.twitter.com/EkJ0R6w9I9— Tim Fitch (@ChiefTimFitch) September 9, 2021
That clarification hasn't persuaded opponents of the vaccine. Councilman Tim Fitch, who voted against the mandate, introduced the “County Employee COVID-19 Health Protection Act.”
The legislation would require the county to provide lifetime health care at no cost to any employee who became sick due to the COVID-19 vaccine. If an employee died “as a result of the COVID-19 vaccine,” a beneficiary would receive $1 million.
“If county employees are forced to make the decision to either take the vaccine or lose their job, they should have protections in case they opt to take the vaccine,” Fitch wrote in his tweet.
St. Louis County Executive Sam Page is expected to sign the bill requiring vaccinations today.
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