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Gov. Charlie Baker to state employees: get vaccinated or get terminated

FILE – In this March 26, 2021, file photo a member of the Philadelphia Fire Department prepares a dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination site setup in Philadelphia. U.S. health officials say Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine may pose a “small possible risk” of a potentially dangerous neurological reaction. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday, July 12 that it has received reports of 100 people who got the shot developing an immune system disorder that can causes muscle weakness and occasionally paralysis.  (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
FILE – In this March 26, 2021, file photo a member of the Philadelphia Fire Department prepares a dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination site setup in Philadelphia. U.S. health officials say Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine may pose a “small possible risk” of a potentially dangerous neurological reaction. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday, July 12 that it has received reports of 100 people who got the shot developing an immune system disorder that can causes muscle weakness and occasionally paralysis. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
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BOSTON – An executive order that Gov. Charlie Baker signed Thursday will require all employees of the state’s executive department to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 17 or face disciplinary action up to and including termination.

Baker’s office said the policy applies to employees working in-person and those who are teleworking, and that there will be a process through which workers can seek exemptions if vaccination is medically contraindicated or they “object to vaccination on the grounds of sincerely-held religious reasons.”

Executive Branch employees will also be required to provide proof of obtaining future COVID-19 booster shots.

Baker’s order also encourages independent agencies, public institutions of higher education, elected officials, the Legislature and the Judiciary to adopt consistent polices.

Three constitutional officers — Treasurer Deborah Goldberg, Auditor Suzanne Bump and Attorney General Maura Healey — have already announced vaccine policies for their workforces.

The union SEIU 509, which represents more than 8,000 state workers, said it “unequivocally supports” Baker’s vaccine mandate and will bargain with the state “to make sure our members’ rights are protected.”

A Baker spokesperson said the order applies to approximately 42,000 employees.

This is a developing story.

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