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Leon County receives 36 exemption forms for vaccine mandate, out of 1,000 employees

FILE - In this Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021 file photo, a syringe is prepared with the Pfizer...
FILE - In this Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021 file photo, a syringe is prepared with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a mobile vaccine clinic in Santa Ana, Calif. New U.S. studies released on Friday, Sept. 10, 2021 show COVID-19 vaccines remain highly effective, especially against hospitalizations and death, even against the extra-contagious delta variant.(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Published: Sep. 17, 2021 at 4:19 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Three percent of County employees have been granted exemptions under the vaccine mandate.

Under Leon County’s employee vaccinate mandate, the deadline to get the shot is October 1.

The mandate has been the subject of national and statewide debate, with some other Florida municipalities following suit. Leon County was the first in the country to require the vaccination as a condition of employment, announced by County Administrator Vince Long in July.

According to County staff, Human Resources, or HR, has not received any notifications of non-compliance with the vaccine mandate.

The deadline for employees to submit their exemptions was August 16th.

Leon County received 36 requests; 30 of those were granted.

That means out of about 1,000 employees, 3% will not be getting the shot.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has threatened to fine local governments that require the vaccine $5,000 per employee.

With its 1,000 employees, Leon County could face $5,000,000 in fines.

As of Friday afternoon, the County has not had any communication from the Governor’s Office.

At Tuesday’s County Commission meeting, multiple local leaders lauded the County Administrator’s decision.

“Kudos to our county administrator, who in the vacuum of our being on vacation has stood cerebral, cognitive, cogent, compassionate way,” said Commissioner Bill Proctor.

Vince Long spoke to Commissioners about his reasoning.

“My foremost obligation to this Board and to the citizens of the community is to have a workforce that is operationally ready to respond to the needs of this community, not only COVID-19 related, but all the needs of this community. Especially during hurricane season,” Long said.

The City of Gainesville has also instituted a vaccine mandate for its employees; some have filed a lawsuit, with a hearing in that case set for Monday, September 20th. The County Attorney, Chastity O’Steen, told Commissioners she would be closely watching the case and update them at their September 28 meeting.

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