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No hazard leave for unvaccinated Tulsa city employees

July 28, 2021 GMT
FILE — Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum, is shown in the Aug. 21, 2020 file photo at his campaign headquarters in Tulsa, Okla. Bynum says city employees who aren't vaccinated for the coronavirus won't receive hazard leave if they contract the illness. Hazard leave is paid leave that is not counted against sick days or vacation days. City spokesperson Michelle Brooks said affected employees could use sick days or vacation if they become ill with the virus. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, file)
FILE — Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum, is shown in the Aug. 21, 2020 file photo at his campaign headquarters in Tulsa, Okla. Bynum says city employees who aren't vaccinated for the coronavirus won't receive hazard leave if they contract the illness. Hazard leave is paid leave that is not counted against sick days or vacation days. City spokesperson Michelle Brooks said affected employees could use sick days or vacation if they become ill with the virus. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, file)
FILE — Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum, is shown in the Aug. 21, 2020 file photo at his campaign headquarters in Tulsa, Okla. Bynum says city employees who aren't vaccinated for the coronavirus won't receive hazard leave if they contract the illness. Hazard leave is paid leave that is not counted against sick days or vacation days. City spokesperson Michelle Brooks said affected employees could use sick days or vacation if they become ill with the virus. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, file)

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — City employees in Tulsa who are unvaccinated for the coronavirus will not receive hazard leave if they contract the illness, Mayor G.T Bynum said.

Hazard leave is paid leave that is not counted against sick days or vacation days, city spokesperson Michelle Brooks Wednesday. Affected unvaccinated employees could use sick days or vacation if they become ill with the virus.

Ascension St. John Hospital in Tulsa announced its employees would be required to become vaccinated by Nov. 12, with exemptions possible for medical or religious regions.

“Tens of thousands of Ascension associates have already been vaccinated with the available vaccines, as have millions of people across the country and the world,” Ascension said in a statement. “But we must do more to overcome this pandemic as we provide safe environments for those we serve.

Ascension joins OU Health, Mercy and SSM Health as hospitals in the state requiring employee vaccinations.

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Meanwhile, a group of 19 Republican state lawmakers is asking Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell, who is acting governor while Gov. Kevin Stitt is in Azerbaijan, to issue an executive order prohibiting vaccine mandates for Oklahoma health care workers.

“If we do not protect the individual’s right to choose what goes in their body, we no longer live in a free society,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to Pinnell. “If you deem this to be an issue the legislature needs to take care of, we respectfully request you call the legislature into special session to end medical tyranny and help us secure and protect our most basic human rights and civil liberties.”

Pinnell’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

There were 1,474 newly reported virus cases in the state Wednesday, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health. The seven-day rolling average of new cases in the state has increased from 338.4 daily on July 12 to 1,197.1 on Monday, according to Johns Hopkins University research data.