Join Club

Arlington sees bump in vaccinated employees as mandate deadline nears

The COVID-19 vaccine (via Arlington County/YouTube)

The threat of job loss over vaccination status may have motivated some 104 permanent Arlington County employees to get the shot.

County employees have until next Tuesday (Feb. 1) to get the jab or obtain a medical or religious exemption, otherwise they go on unpaid leave for one month. If they obtain neither before Feb. 28, they lose their jobs.

Since mid-December, when ARLnow last reported on the upcoming deadline for employees, nearly 38% of unvaccinated employees have received the vaccine, according to Arlington Public Health Division spokesman Ryan Hudson.

With less than a week to before the deadline, 174 employees, or 5.5% of the county’s permanent workforce, remain unvaccinated — a number that includes people with religious and medical accommodations.

The uptick over the last 40 days brings the county’s employee vaccination rate to 94.5%, up from 91%, or 2,976 of 3,150 county employees.

Back in August, Arlington County mandated vaccines for all permanent county employees, requiring those who were unvaccinated to submit to weekly testing. A few months later, the county sharpened the teeth behind the mandate by setting the Feb. 28 deadline.

This step prompted a group of first responders and other county employees to launch a petition, asking the county for “more reciprocal ideas” for ensuring employee health and safety, such as continuing testing. Today, the petition has about 350 signatures.

Arlington County Board members re-endorsed the mandate during their regular meeting on Saturday, after a former Arlington firefighter took the podium during the public comment period to say not getting the shot is an “inexcusable dereliction of duty,” unless there’s a legitimate medical exemption.

“I don’t believe any public safety employee who refuses a vaccine at this time is doing anything other than defying the very essence of their job,” said retired firefighter Mike Staples.

He thanked the 90% of the fire department who’ve received the vaccine for “upholding the longstanding reputation we’ve built of demonstrating a selfless commitment to public safety.”

Staples said the firefighters who are holding out are “in the wrong line of work.”

Despite their controversy, workplace mandates have been shown to increase vaccination rates.

County Board members appeared unfazed by the potential loss of workers come Feb. 28, despite reports of ongoing and predicted workforce shortages among first responders and in other county departments.

“We are at this point talking about a relative few who have either not complied with getting the shots or have not qualified for a legitimate medical or religious exemption,” Board Vice-Chair Christian Dorsey said. “The good news is that is at such a high number there will be no negative or adverse impact on county service delivery with the implementation of this requirement. We do thank everyone doing their part to keep our community safe.”

Recent Stories

Good Monday evening, Arlington. Today we published articles that were read a total of 8752 times… so far. 📈 Top stories The following are the most-read articles for today —…

Our Mom Eugenia may finally be ready to “opa” later this week in Shirlington. The popular, family-owned Greek eatery is preparing to open its newest location on Thursday (March 30),…

The Arlington County Board approved zoning changes to accommodate “missing middle” housing units, such as duplexes, triplexes, and small multi-family buildings, in areas designated for single-family homes. While some argue…

Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that highlights Arlington-based startups, founders, and local tech news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring 1515 Wilson Blvd in…

Synetic Theater Camps are a wildly fun, highly accessible choice for young people who love moving, playing games, and making memories. Registration is open now for Summer Camps (sessions June 20-August 25) and there are even a few spots left for Spring Break camp, April 3­-7.

Located in National Landing, these performance-based camps are designed for students of all ages – no theater or performance experience required.

Led by professional teaching artists, campers learn acting, movement, and technical theater skills through the lens of Physical Theater. Physical Theater incorporates acting, movement, dance, mime, and acrobatics. If you’ve seen a Cirque du Soleil performance, you’ll find many similarities.

Most first-time campers are new to the performing arts, and teaching artists are well-versed in engaging students at all levels. Parents and campers report that one of the best parts of Synetic is the community, with many families returning year after year because they feel a strong sense of belonging.

Read More

Submit your own Announcement here.

EDBS Dental Billing Solutions is pleased to announce that it has achieved compliance with the federally mandated standards of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) through the use of Compliancy Group’s proprietary HIPAA methodology, The Guard® compliance tracking software, and HIPAA Seal of Compliance®.

The HIPAA Seal of Compliance is issued to organizations that have implemented an effective HIPAA compliance program through the use of The Guard, Compliancy Group’s proprietary compliance tracking solution.

Clients and patients are becoming more aware of the requirements of HIPAA compliance and how the regulation protects their personal information. Forward-thinking providers like EDBS Dental Billing Solutions choose the HIPAA Seal of Compliance to differentiate their services.

“Since the nature of our business being exclusively remote, we take HIPAA compliance very seriously. With the help of Compliancy Group, we are able to take steps to fortify our systems to protect PHI information and familiarize each employee about HIPAA and how we can further safeguard PHI data.” said EDBS Dental Billing Solutions founder Goldie De Leon.

Read More

Submit your own Announcement here.

WHS Spring Festival

Join us at the WHS Spring Festival on April 22, 2023, from 10am- 3pm at Wakefield High School(main parking lot). Come out to shop, play, and eat!

Shop local vendors, arts & crafts, new and used items, food vendors/trucks, and

District 27 Toastmasters 2023 Virtual Conference

District 27 Toastmasters invites you to its annual conference where you can hear phenomenal speakers, attend professional development and personal growth seminars about leadership, negotiation, communication, teamwork, and mentorship. Learn how to develop your personal story and how to improve


Subscribe to our mailing list