After Comptroller Bill Henry called on him to require Baltimore City employees to get vaccinated (or provide weekly proof of a negative Covid-19 test), Mayor Brandon Scott has responded, saying he is looking into the issue.
“Mayor Scott is currently evaluating the various legal and operational issues around employee vaccination mandates,” Scott’s communications director Cal Harris told The Brew today in an email.
“Though more jurisdictions are moving in this direction, the mayor will continue to follow the sound guidance of health experts before rushing into a decision,” Harris said.
Henry’s call comes as mayors of cities across the country (including Los Angeles and New York) are rolling out new requirements for mandatory vaccines for public employees, as cases of the Delta variant drive Covid-19 infection rates up sharply.
Scott acknowledged the uptick in cases in Baltimore and urged residents to get vaccinated in a news conference Monday, joined by city Health Commissioner Letitia Dzirasa.
Scott said he would not hesitate to reimpose a mask mandate if health experts recommended it and reminded residents that the city is providing free vaccination clinics and working to address citizens’ questions about the vaccine.
He did not discuss the subject of requiring Baltimore’s 15,000-strong city workforce to get vaccinated.
Still, the press release Henry sent out to local media appears to have come as a surprise since, according to Harris, Scott and Henry discussed the issue days earlier.
The mayor met with Comptroller Henry last week The mayor’s office previously discussed this matter with Comptroller Henry and the comptroller is fully aware that our administration is sympathetic and already looking into this matter,” the spokesman told The Brew. [Asked further about the interaction, Harris requested the quote be revised. – eds]
Henry said today he has not heard from the mayor on the issue.
Scott appeared today on CNN, urging residents to get vaccinated and condemning elected officials elsewhere (“they need to do some soul-searching”) for spreading misinformation about the virus and vaccinations.
Asked about the fact that 70% or more of the population in some zip codes in Baltimore remain unvaccinated, Scott said, “We’re going to continue to just double down our efforts” to make the shots available to residents, even going “door-to-door.”
The issue of mandating vaccines for city employees did not come up.