Gov. Ralph Northam announced on Thursday, Aug. 5 that Virginia will require its state workers to show proof that they are fully vaccinated or be tested for COVID-19 every week. This policy will impact approximately 122,000 employees and will go into effect on Sept. 1.
Northam’s action comes as the highly transmissible Delta variant is driving up cases across the state and country, primarily among unvaccinated people. Nearly 73 percent of Virginia adults have had their first shot, and 54 percent of all Virginians are fully vaccinated against the virus, which is higher than most states, according to a release from the governor’s office.
“The only way to end this pandemic is to for everyone to get vaccinated against COVID-19,” said Northam. “As head of state government, we have a responsibility to lead by example and ensure the safety of our employees and the people they serve. The three vaccines are safe, effective, free, and widely available, and I strongly urge every eligible Virginian to get their shot. The time for waiting is over.”
Last week, President Joe Biden announced a similar vaccination requirement for federal workers.
“Our valued state employees are dedicated to public service, and I am confident they want to do what is necessary to keep themselves, their co-workers, and the public safe,” said Secretary of Administration Grindly Johnson, who oversees the Department of Human Resource Management.
The full text of Northam’s Executive Directive 18 can be found at www.governor.virginia.gov/media/governorvirginiagov/executive-actions/ED-18-Ensuring-a-Safe-Work-Place.pdf.
Virginians who have not been vaccinated are encouraged to go to vaccinate.virginia.gov or call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682, TTY users call 7-1-1) to find a nearby vaccination clinic. For answers to frequently asked questions or to learn more about vaccination for COVID-19 in Virginia, visit vdh.virginia.gov/covid-19-vaccine.