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Walsh wants to require COVID-19 vaccine for Syracuse city employees

Ben Walsh.jpg
Tom Magnarelli
Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh.

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh wants to require COVID-19 vaccinations for city employees. Walsh said he’s meeting with labor leaders to discuss a policy for vaccinations and COVID-19 testing. He applauds the Syracuse City School District for recently adopting a vaccine or weekly testing policy for teachers and staff. And he wants to see the same for city workers.

“I absolutely want to see more employees get vaccinated,” Walsh said. “I want to see a testing regiment in place that helps us to identify where the virus is in city government and help us to stomp it out as quickly as possible. That’s the goal, but we’re going to work collaboratively towards how we get to that goal.”

Walsh expects to have a policy in place soon. He also wants to start collecting data on the vaccine rate of city employees. He knows some departments, like police and the Department of Public Works, are lagging behind.

“We want to make sure no matter where you work in city government, you feel safe and you’re protected,” Walsh said. “We know that getting more employees vaccinated will do that. We’re going to put a system in place that will help there.”

This comes at a time when active COVID-19 cases have doubled in Syracuse to 105 from just 50 a month ago. Walsh is also concerned with the city’s vaccine rate at 57% of adults with at least one shot. That lags behind the county average of about 77%.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.