San Jose Proposes Booster Shots as Component of Vaccine Mandate

San Jose Proposes Booster Shots as Component of Vaccine Mandate San Jose Proposes Booster Shots as Component of Vaccine Mandate

San Jose, Calif., Mayor Sam Liccardo addresses a news conference. (Beth LaBerge/KQED via AP, Pool, File)

By Luca Cacciatore | Tuesday, 21 December 2021 08:02 PM

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo announced on Tuesday that his city would become the first in California to propose booster shots as a component of its vaccination mandate.

''To avoid crippling levels of hospitalizations and tragic outcomes, we have the great benefit of widespread access to booster shots, but we lack the benefit of time,'' the mayor said in a statement. ''We must take decisive action to protect our workforce and our community, and a booster mandate will help.''

If approved by the City Council, the policy would require those who enter city-owned facilities to be vaccinated with a booster and make vaccination with a booster a condition of employment at these sites.

''Rather than awaiting the inevitable but plodding revision of the official definition of 'fully vaccinated' by federal and state bureaucracies, we should take action to protect our community with information made clearly available to us and affirmed by Dr. [Anthony] Fauci and other respected authorities,'' Liccardo wrote in a proposal to the City Council.

Liccardo joins an increasing group of Democrats pushing to add boosters to vaccination mandates. Bill de Blasio, the mayor of New York City, said earlier this month he was considering proposing mandatory boosters for indoor gatherings.

Liccardo says that the findings regarding the spread of omicron and new studies indicating boosters could alleviate the worst effects of the variant support his proposal.

''I think, frankly, we know where this is ultimately going,'' Liccardo said. ''It's important for us to notify our workforce so they can make preparations — so that nobody is surprised by this when the mandate and the data is announced — so that everyone can be ready for it, and no one will feel as though the rug has been pulled out from under them.''

Current rules for religious exemptions would remain in effect, and the proposal is set to be heard by the City Council's Rules Committee on Jan. 5.