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Denver mandating vaccines for thousands of city/county, private sector workers

Mayor Michael Hancock in a news conference on Aug. 2, 2021.
Mayor Michael Hancock in a news conference on Aug. 2, 2021.(KKTV)
Published: Aug. 2, 2021 at 12:15 PM MDT
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DENVER (KKTV) - City employees, educators and certain other professionals in Denver have until the end of September to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

“It is not enough to fully protect our residents. The scientific miracle is a vaccine, and some aren’t taking it seriously,” said Denver Mayor Michael Hancock in a news conference Monday.

Despite Denver’s robust vaccination rate -- at 70 percent, it’s one of the highest in the nation -- the highly contagious delta strain is getting a foothold in the city. Thirty percent of eligible citizens remain unprotected against COVID-19′s most infectious variant yet, along with kids under 12 who can’t get vaccinated yet.

City officials say the following metrics are concerning:

- Change in average daily infection rate from an average of 15 to almost 70 now

- Change in average daily positivity rate from 1 percent in mid-June to above 3 now

- Lagging indicators like hospitalizations and deaths beginning to increase

“To achieve the highest level of protection and recovery from the pandemic, especially among high-risk and vulnerable groups, we need to maximize vaccinations as quickly as possible, and mandates will do just that,” Hancock said.

Going forward, the following workers will be required to get both vaccines doses by Sept. 15, so as to meet the Sept. 30 goal of being fully vaccinated:

- All employees for Denver city/county (including airport employees, library employees, board and commissions, and elected officials)

- First responders

- Hospital workers and employees in clinical settings

- Long-term care employees

- Home health care providers

- Employees at homeless shelters

- Child care providers

- School personnel

- Employees at correctional facilities

Mayor Michael Hancock stopped short of issuing a mask mandate for the city, though he urged unvaccinated citizens to continue wearing them. Vaccines, he said, were the only way to stymie the rapidly growing delta strain.

“Given what we know today, I strongly believe that controlling the spread of the virus and its variants through timely and thoughtful mandated vaccinations, especially as we enter the colder fall and winter months, is necessary. By further increasing the number of vaccinated residents, we’re able to protect children and those who can’t get vaccinated, limit hospitalizations and ultimately save lives,” said Bob McDonald, executive director of Denver Department of Public Health and Environment.

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