Despite the mandate Governor Gavin Newsom implemented about three months ago, California’s vaccination rates for public agencies are significantly lower than promised, reports the Los Angeles Times. Gov. Newsom’s hefty pledge that California would lead the nation by example is taking a tumble as vaccination rates in state-run workplaces remain low and the option to instead undergo weekly testing is being widely ignored. Only a third of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection’s employees are fully vaccinated. The department is reportedly only testing 75 employees out of the 6,700 who are either unvaccinated or refuse to disclose their status. The Department of Motor Vehicles’ staff vaccination rate is about 59%, but only 411 of the 3,600 unvaccinated staffers are being tested weekly. Some departments have failed to report any information whatsoever. 66% of state employees have complied, according to the state Department of Human Resources, but Newsom’s Aug. 2 deadline came and went, and defiers did not face any consequences.
Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infection-disease expert and professor of medicine at UC San Francisco, called the situation “problematic,” saying that the “entire point of Gov. Newsom being the first governor to say state employees should be vaccinated is because these employees are public interfacing, and the vaccine protects them and the public they serve.” She added that “if the testing component isn’t being universally applied, you are defeating the point.”