NEWARK, NJ – With just 47% of the population of Newark, New Jersey being fully vaccinated, Mayor Ras Baraka said it’s now up to the city’s police and firefighters to vaccinate to save the lives of the city’s many unvaccinated people.
According to the New Jersey Department of Health, Newark is lagging behind the rest of the state when it comes to vaccination rates.
“In my duties as mayor of New Jersey’s largest city, there are days I come in contact with dozens and at times, hundreds of people. The other day I met with a multi-generational range of Newark residents, from seniors to children, and I can only feel comfortable with this – for myself and them – because I am vaccinated. Later, I found out I had come in contact with someone who had tested positive for COVID and I thought about the potential “superspreader” consequences if I had been infected. I got tested, as did my immediate staff, and luckily we all came up negative,” Baraka said. “Besides myself, there are other people in my administration and the city’s workforce who come in constant contact with the public, either in the office or in the field. People who come into city hall for permits, to pay taxes, apply to licensing and a whole myriad of other reasons, will continue to be met by masked employees and they should be confident their public servants have been vaccinated and they will not leave city hall infected.”
His letter continued:
Our health inspectors go into restaurants, grocery stores, convenience stores and other food establishments to make sure cleanliness standards are met to keep people from getting sick.
Our code officers check apartment houses and other existing residential and commercial buildings, and those under construction, to make sure things like electric and gas service lines meet safety standards.
The police and fire division personnel of our Public Safety Department are routinely in contact with members of the public in either emergency situations or while making routine rounds.
It goes without saying that much of city government explicitly exists for the sole purpose of keeping our residents safe, which is why it is confounding to me that we are getting push back from certain public employee unions about our mandate that all city employees get COVID-19 vaccinations unless they are religiously forbidden or medically unqualified. Employees who choose not to be vaccinated must submit to PCR testing on their own time and provide test results each week or face disciplinary penalties, including termination.
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