BALTIMORE (WJZ)– It’s the latest stringent approach to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and reaching the vaccine-hesitant population.
“This is about leading by example, protecting the health of our workforce,” said Mayor Brandon Scott.
Starting Monday, anyone employed by the city must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or face weekly testing.
“I’m all for it, I’ve been vaccinated. I work in education,” said Todd Evans, Baltimore City resident.
A move supported by some city employees like Evans.
“I think mandates are.. it seems like the only way to try to get people to do this because people just aren’t for whatever reason have decided it’s not the way out,” said Evans.
But has also received pushback from Baltimore’s Fire and Police Union.
“How’s weekly testing going to work?” It’s supposed to be on duty, if you have multiple people working on a fire engine, how do they all get tested while working,” said Joshua Fannon, Union President of Baltimore Fire Officers Local 964.
This comes as Maryland’s key COVID metrics are declining. Sunday, the state reported 871 new COVID-19 cases and five deaths.
The statewide positivity rate dropped slightly to 3.44 percent.
“I understand we need to get to herd immunity so people need to be careful when they are inside and they need to get the vaccine,” said Bart Stocksdale, Baltimore City resident.
“The 18 to 29’s, in general, are sort of on the lower end of getting the vaccine if we think about vaccination coverage in the United States,” said Rupali Limaye, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health is continuing its work to reach vaccine-hesitant young adults.
“One of the things that’s really important is who are the messengers? People are less trusting official sources, they trust their friends and family,” said Caleb Hellerman, medical journalist and documentary filmmaker.
Leaders are focusing on different strategies to communicate and empower the younger population who have not yet received a COVID-19 vaccine.
“Get the vaccine so you can be safe to see your family,” said Nick Moran, Associate Director of Audience Development, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
“Showing empathy to people and understanding the place their coming from, if they are mistrusting of information I think is really critical,” said Hellerman.
Right now, data shows nearly 85 percent of all adults in Maryland have received at least one dose of the shot. And nearly 3.9 million eligible Marylanders are fully vaccinated.