Baker: 12,000 state workers vaccinated after mandate

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A healthcare worker fills a syringe with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)

BOSTON (SHNS) – Putting some numbers on his COVID-19 vaccination push, Gov. Charlie Baker over the weekend estimated 12,000 state employees got jabs after he announced his vaccination mandate and said only “a handful” of state employees were fired after they indicated they would never agree to be vaccinated.

During an appearance on WCVB’s “On The Record” program on Sunday morning, Baker also said he was “pretty sure” that the vaccination rate was higher than 90 percent among the State Police and higher than 85 percent among corrections staff — two groups of employees that have so far unsuccessfully used legal avenues to contest the vaccine mandate.

The governor estimated that the vaccination rate among state employees rose from 70 percent to about 95 percent in the weeks after he announced his vaccine mandate, and said the rate continues to rise. “There are people going through the exemption process who are getting vaccinated as they go through that process right now,” he said, predicting eventually that “pretty close to everybody” in the executive branch would get the jab.

About 100 state employees quit their jobs rather than get vaccinated, Baker said. Baker also said he understands that parents may be apprehensive about getting their young kids vaccinated but said “oh sure” when asked if he would get his kids vaccinated if they were between five and 11 years old. “I completely get it,” Baker said. “Look, my kids are 30, 27 and 24. A day doesn’t go by that my wife and I don’t think about them. They’re up, out of the house, on their own and all of the rest, but you know, they’re still ours. And when your kids are young, I completely understand that. But again, if people talk to the doctors who they trust to help them make the best decisions for their kids, I think most of the time, almost all the time, those doctors are going to say that this is safe and effective and you should do it.”

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