Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva Refuses to Enforce a Vaccine Mandate

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Christine Beswick

An executive order for mandatory vaccines for public employees by October 1 is being ignored by L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva reports NPR. Sheriff Alex Villanueva is said to oversee the largest department in the nation, one that is home to over 18,000 public employees. This Thursday in a Facebook Live event he stated he will not be carrying out this executive order.

The mandate was issued by executive order on August 4 of this year and allows only for religious and medical exemptions. Villanueva said his employees are willing to be terminated rather than get vaccinated.

L.A. County Vaccine Mandate

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The order issued by Chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Hilda L. Solis stipulates that "effective immediately, all County employees to provide proof of full vaccination by October 1, 2021."

When she issued the order, she reported 3,734 new cases, 1,242 hospitalizations, and 16 deaths, according to a statement on her website regarding the order.

By August 20, 2021, the county had a peak of 29,174 new cases and a seven-day average of cases of 13,736 daily according to the New York Times.

Sheriff Villanueva's Rationale

Prior to the order, employees were permitted to submit to "at least weekly testing" in lieu of providing vaccination records.

Sheriff Villanueva provided the rationale behind his decision through a statement on Twitter. He's concerned more about crime than mask mandates.

In his statement, he criticized "a District Attorney who refuses to prosecute many misdemeanors" and slammed the L.A. County Board of Supervisors who he says want to "empty the jails and release felons back onto the streets." Previously this year Sheriff Villanueva had complained inmates were trying to infect themselves with Covid-19.

Sheriff Villanueva described a homeless problem of over 80 thousand L.A. County residents, and complained about a police force that was defunded and "stripped of 1,400 positions." He called these actions reckless and referred to them as "woke-ism."

The Fulgent System

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Referring to a budget surplus of $2 billion, Sheriff Villanueva says that he has been forced to make some tough choices when it comes to resources. He says violent felonies will be policed before he brings out the "vaccine mandate police."

"The Department will continue requiring all of our employees to register with the Fulgent system, but will only seek voluntary compliance and testing for the unvaccinated."

The Fulgent System is a system wherein public employees are required to complete a verification of vaccine status online so that all records of employee vaccinations could be on file.

Vaccination certification was to be submitted to the Fulgent Database by all public employees by October 1, 2021.

For the Fulgent System, an option to enter "I am not vaccinated" exists, with the note,

"It is imperative that you get fully vaccinated and show proof of full vaccination prior to October 1, 2021."

The People Might Not Like It

Some of the people that commented in response to the sheriff on Twitter had comments pertaining to safety and trust. One noted the "law enforcement that doesn't follow the law" while another said when a police call is required, ask for a vaccinated officer to attend. Another finds the resources argument "baffling."

NPR reports that Sheriff Villanueva says that he doesn't want to lose five to 10 percent of his workforce overnight because of the mandate.

The county reportedly has a vaccine rate of 78 percent with at least one Covid-19 vaccination, and 69 percent of the citizens are fully vaccinated.