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North Charleston mandates vaccines for employees

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North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey is requiring all city employees to be vaccinated. (Photo/File)The city of North Charleston is now mandating vaccinations for all city employees.

Mayor Keith Summey made the announcement yesterday in an online video shared on the city’s Facebook page.

He said the decision wasn’t easy, but he maintains it has become a necessary step to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

“To achieve and maintain a workplace that is free from the known health and safety hazard, the city is adopting a mandatory vaccination policy to protect our employees and their families as well as the citizens, vendors and visitors we serve,” Summey said.

He added that the provisions of the policy are based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and other health professionals, and complies with all workplace laws.

On Aug. 23, the Food and Drug Administration gave full approval to the Pfizer vaccine, while the Johnson & Johnson and Moderna vaccines remain in emergency use authorization status. Moderna has applied for FDA approval, which experts think will be given in the next month or two.

For Summey, getting the COVID-19 vaccine is no different than the vaccines given to students before they can attend school — a process he went through 65 years ago.

“The CDC has identified vaccination as a critical prevention measure to help end the pandemic,” he said. “This guidance is supported by clinical trials, scientific research and extensive safety monitoring which have demonstrated the safety and effectiveness of currently available vaccines.

As the coronavirus and science evolves, Summey said the vaccine mandate may be modified.

Until then, the mayor believes it is his responsibility to protect employees who come to work every day and to make sure they are in a position to safely provide services, whether police, fire or other roles, to the people of North Charleston.

“This is an opportunity for us to limit the damage,” he said. “We don’t know the official outcome and where it’s going.”

Reach Teri Errico Griffis at 843-849-3144.

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