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Deadline arrives for San Diego city employees to get vaccinated

Posted at 4:34 PM, Dec 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-02 09:12:28-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Wednesday, Dec. 1, was the deadline for San Diego city employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19, submit an exemption or risk losing their jobs.

"It is a very tremendous deal of uncertainty when you think about your ability to provide for your family taken away from you," Paul Lotze said.

Lotze is a San Diego Fire-Rescue Department firefighter who is unvaccinated. He said it's been a trying time for him and his family.

"The reality is this sort of thing is challenging moral, relationships are challenged," he said.

Although Lotze said he hasn't submitted a religious exemption yet, he plans to within the next 30 days.

That's how long employees like himself have to either comply or submit a religious or medical exemption.

According to the city, as of Wednesday, they have received 946 total requests, 912 religious and 34 medical.

The city said if an exemption is denied an employee will receive multiple notices of termination, during which time they could choose to get vaccinated and avoid losing their job.

Lotze said he worries about how the mandate will impact public safety and says some may simply choose to work somewhere else.

"Many of my friends have applications into other departments, we have El Cajon and Poway taking laterals," he said. "I also have 2 applications in elsewhere."

The mandate is also expected to impact the police department. The union representing officers has been unable to come to an agreement with the city.

The city said there are roughly 700 officers who remain unvaccinated.