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Northam announces vaccine requirement for state workers

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has announced state workers will be required to show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 while encouraging localities and private employers to do the same.

Governor Ralph Northam

A release from the Office of Governor Northam Thursday, Aug. 5, states Northam announced earlier in the day Virginia will require state workers to show proof they are fully vaccinated or be tested for COVID-19 every week.

The policy will impact approximately 122,000 employees and will go into effect Sept. 1.

Northam’s action, per the release, comes just as the highly transmissible delta variant is driving up cases across the state and around the U.S., primarily among unvaccinated people.

More than 72% of Virginia adults have had their first shot against the virus, while 54% of all Virginians are fully vaccinated against COVID.

“The only way to end this pandemic is for everyone to get vaccinated against COVID-19,” Northam said Thursday. “As head of state government, we have a responsibility to lead by example and ensure the safety of our employees and the people they serve. The three vaccines are safe, effective, free and widely available, and I strongly urge every eligible Virginian to get their shot. The time for waiting is over.”

The release states U.S. President Joe Biden announced a vaccination requirement for federal workers last week. Northam’s executive directive is consistent with Biden’s policy.

“Our valued state employees are dedicated to public service, and I am confident they want to do what is necessary to keep themselves, their co-workers and the public safe,” said Secretary of Administration Grindly Johnson, who oversees the Department of Human Resource Management.

Virginians who have not been vaccinated are encouraged to go to vaccinate.virginia.gov or call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682, TTY users call 7-1-1) to find a nearby vaccination clinic. For answers to frequently asked questions or to learn more about vaccination for COVID-19 in Virginia, visit vdh.virginia.gov/covid-19-vaccine.