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‘A few hundred’ face discipline over vaccination mandate

November 2, 2021 GMT

BOSTON (AP) — Only a “few hundred” people who work in the executive branch of Massachusetts state government have faced discipline for failing to comply with Gov. Charlie Baker’s coronavirus vaccination mandate, the governor said.

“The number of suspensions that are out there is only a few hundred, and they’re pretty much scattered across the executive branch,” Baker said Monday.

Baker announced in August that about 44,000 executive branch workers and contractors would have to provide proof of a COVID-19 vaccination or seek an exemption or risk losing their jobs.

The deadline was Oct. 17.

“The most important thing, from our point of view, is that somewhere around 12,000 people who weren’t vaccinated when this process began are vaccinated now. And 39,000 plus are either fully vaccinated or received a qualified exemption,” the Republican said.

The administration received about 2,000 exemption requests.

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The administration is still working through some of those requests “and we’re trying to be very careful and deliberate about that,” he said.

Unions representing state police troopers and state prison guards mounted legal challenges to the mandate, but both lost in court.

The administration has not provided a breakdown on suspensions for failing to get a vaccination by department.