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How’s that city push to get its employees vaccinated going?

Not bad, actually.

Nearly three months after Mayor Sylvester Turner signed an executive order requiring Houston’s 21,000 city employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine, receive a medical or religious exemption, or submit COVID-19 test results every two weeks, compliance with the order varies widely among departments.

Just over 60% of Houston firefighters had either been vaccinated, submitted test results or received an exemption as of Nov. 15 — the lowest rate of any city department.

That’s according to city data released to Houston Public Media, which also revealed Houston police, waste management and health staff at the bottom of the list of those who have complied with Turner’s order.

Just 74% of police officers were in compliance with the mandate, along with 74% of Solid Waste Management employees and 74% of Health and Human Services employees.

The city secretary’s office, which has just seven employees, is 100% compliant with the mayor’s order. The legal department with 185 employees and the city I.T. department’s 180 are next on the list with about 98% compliance each as of Nov. 15.

The mayor’s own office is 90% compliant with his executive order as of Nov. 15, 13th on the list of 25 departments.


The city’s Nov. 15 compliance data was the most recent available. Houston Public Media has requested a more recent report, which was not available as of Thursday afternoon.

On Sept. 8, the date Turner issued his order, 342 city employees had active cases of COVID-19, including 129 police officers.

Fourteen city employees have died of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, according to the mayor’s office.

Turner had previously mandated face coverings for all city employees in August, after Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order prohibiting local governments from such mandates. Abbott then banned COVID-19 vaccine mandates statewide on Oct. 11, preventing any employer from requiring vaccination. That order is still making its way through state courts, but his mandate ban could nonetheless stymie the mayor’s efforts.

But Turner’s executive order doesn’t require workers to get vaccinated. Instead, it offers unvaccinated employees two alternatives: Either submit COVID-19 test results every two weeks or file a medical or religious exemption.

Under the order, employees were required to submit test results on the first and 15th of each month, beginning on Oct. 15. Employees who don’t comply could be subject to “corrective action up to and including indefinite suspension or termination,” the order states.

“A failure to adhere to the policy will result in disciplinary action and could even cost you your job,” Turner told city council at a meeting where he announced the order.

In a statement Thursday, the mayor’s office didn’t specify how Turner plans to address employees who aren’t complying with the order, but said the city’s Human Resources department is continuing to educate employees on the requirements.

“By implementing the executive order, our goal is save more lives, prevent illness throughout city departments and reduce costs for everyone,” the mayor’s office wrote. “The City intends to enforce the Executive Order and follow the steps outlined to ensure compliance.”

See here for the background. There’s a table in the story showing compliance rates for each department, though it should be noted that the actual numbers may be higher for at least some of them. The president of the Houston Police Officers Union was quoted saying their numbers are better than what was represented, for one. Even without that, the city’s efforts have nudged the vax numbers upward, which is exactly what you want. I thought at the time that Abbott and Paxton would not stand for this workaround on the city’s part, and I’m delighted to be proven wrong. Now let’s see what enforcement there is for the holdouts. No excuses at this point, get on board or say goodbye.

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  1. Jason Hochman says:

    It is sad to see the progress of the progressives in crushing the rights of workers, and giving power to the corporations and the government. The progressives are of course rich elites, who hate the working people and middle class. Employers have been newly empowered with their ability to mandate and are mandating more and more, and invading the privacy and autonomy of employees as never before, destroying decades of gains by unions.

    It is of course also insane to imagine that you are going to get a booster every three months or thereabout. If you think it is normal to get vaccinated for one illness 5 times a year, you are off your rocker.

  2. Joel says:

    JH, if you are going to write the exact same (valueless) comment in every thread, you could at least make it into a countdown.

  3. Tom in Lazybrook says:

    Im unaware of a single elected Republican in Texas that wants to pass a law banning firing an employee for being LGBT.

    Get the jab or get the boot.

  4. David Fagan says:

    7 days and counting………

  5. Mainstream says:

    Tom, You are a year behind. In June 2020, the Supreme Court interpreted existing federal employment statutes to prohibit “firing an employee for being LGBT.” Any local legislation would be ineffective and redundant.

    From CNBC at the time:
    “The Supreme Court said that workers cannot be fired for being gay or transgender, a blockbuster ruling for LGBT rights.

    The historic 6-3 decision was written by Justice Neil Gorsuch, a conservative appointed by Donald Trump.”

  6. Kibitzer says:

    Addendum to Mainstream:

    Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, 140 S.Ct. 1731 (2020)(employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender violates Title VII).

    Opinions (equiv. of 172 pages PDF in all) here:,44

    Or look up No. 17–1618 on the SCOTUS website / docket search.

  7. Jason Hochman says:

    Tom, I am not sure what your statement means. Are you implying that the Democrats are beating the Republicans in the race to the bottom? I believe that it is wrong to use anyone’s sexual orientation as a reason to fire a worker.

    I saw that Oregon wants to make mask laws permanent.

    What are we going to do when fully vaccinated means you get a booster every six weeks? The Vax of the Month Club.

    Meantime, there are over 1,000 deaths per day from Covaids. I remember when Joe Biden was just a candidate and he said that anyone who had 1,000 deaths a day didn’t deserve to be president. By his own metric he should step down. but, he is savagely demented and seemingly deteriorating before our very eyes and probably can’t remember saying such a thing. But he’ll just blame his incompetence on you because you didn’t get a booster this week.

    Look, the point of all this is: things get back to normal when we, the people say they do, when we wake up, and stop letting them play us and divide us, when we insist on the rights endowed by our Creator and affirmed in the constitution. It is OK to admit that you were fooled, and scared by people who could benefit by the choices you made based on the fear that they instilled in you. It is OK. The sooner you admit this, the sooner we get back to normal.

  8. C.L. says:

    More (incomprehensible) word salad from Dr. Hochman.

    I now find myself longing for the racist rants of Bill Daniel just to break up the Hochman dribble… unless, of course we’re all being played and Dr. Hochman and Bill Daniels are the same person !

    #MindBlown !

    Welcome to the Thunderdome !

  9. Jason Hochman says:

    C.L. what mindless dribble did I post? that I don’t believe in firing someone due to sexual orientation?

    Joe Biden did indeed say that anyone with over 1,000 Covaids deaths per day does not deserve to be president. You can look that up. You can then look up the number of deaths per day now. Well, I assume you can. I may be giving too much credit.

    This is why I support voter suppression. Too many wealthy elites who can understand the concept of facts, and interpretations of such facts.

    We are all being played, by the elites, the governing party, and the media that serve them. The sooner you admit that you were fooled, the sooner we can get back to normal. Your founders went to war for less.