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Albuquerque City Council approves an amendment to ban future vaccine mandates for city employees

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Gino Gutierrez
/
KSFR News
Albuquerque City Council debates vaccine mandate amendment=

Albuquerque City Councilor Dan Lewis introduced and sponsored a resolution amending the declaration of a local emergency due to novel coronavirus, COVID-19 to ban vaccine requirements for city employees.

According to the New Mexico Department of Health 's public dashboard, Bernalillo county currently has 81.4% of their residents fully vaccinated and 94.2% with at least one dose.

Lewis said the city should not mandate vaccines for frontline workers, who might have to choose between getting vaccinated or their jobs.

“As far as the city of Albuquerque, our policy will not be to mandate vaccines among our city employees. We want to give them the peace of mind that they won’t have to make a decision between taking a vaccine they may not want or need and their jobs.”

Councilor Pat David said the amendment presented made him worry, specifically when it came to ensuring the city had a healthy workforce.

“I think the government has a really important job, and when we sign up for these things, we sign up for what needs to be done. I worry if we don’t have an ability to set some standards for a healthy workforce in our city, so when we’re called upon to do those really important primary jobs, we have the staff available to do them.”

While Lewis’ amendment would ban any future vaccine mandates, Chief Administrative Officer for the Keller administration, Sarita Nair said the administration had never previously implemented a vaccine mandate.

Instead, a testing requirement was used, asking city employees to either present a vaccination card, or get tested on a regular basis.

After further deliberations between the councilors had concluded, they voted 5-4 to approve Lewis amendment, ensuring city employees in Albuquerque would not face any future vaccine mandates.

Gino Gutierrez was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. A lifelong resident of New Mexico, Gino found interest in broadcasting after falling in love with sports and sports broadcasting. He attended the University of New Mexico, where he majored in mass media journalism. While at UNM, he worked the New Mexico Daily Lobo, serving as both sports and managing editor. He can also be heard providing play-by-play commentary for the Lobo Hockey Network.