Bernalillo County isn’t mandating COVID vaccinations for employees


BERNALILLO, N.M. (KRQE) – Bernalillo County is saying ‘no’ to mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for its employees, for now. They must follow COVID-19 guidelines like wearing masks, having staggered work schedules, social distancing, and virtual meetings.

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Tia Bland is Bernalillo County’s Communications Services Director. She explains, “The county manager feels that we should try these things to see how they’re working before looking at the possibility of needing to implement mandatory vaccinations.”

The county spokesperson says there are also a number of unvaccinated employees working in the public safety sector… who are eligible to retire. Mandating a vaccine meant possibly losing a handful of experienced employees. “Some of them have expressed that they would likely consider retiring sooner rather than later if vaccinations become a requirement,” says Bland. 

There are some departments that have more difficulty than others when hiring and retaining personnel. 

County Manager Julie Morgas Bacas is still encouraging employees to get their vaccines with a new incentive. Employees can get additional vacation time once they upload their proof of vaccination. 

It’s important to note mandatory vaccines aren’t completely off the table for Bernalillo County employees. Bland shares, “If the situation were to become worse or the current public safe practices that are in effect right now don’t seem to be working then the county manager has at her discretion the possibility of implementing mandatory vaccines.”

The county was not able to provide a number of how many of its more than 2,600 employees are vaccinated, but they are tracking vaccinations through an online portal. 

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has required state workers to get vaccinated or get tested for COVID regularly. The city of Albuquerque does not have an employee vaccine mandate.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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