Broome County officials prepare for federal vaccine mandate

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VESTAL, NY (WSKG) — The Biden administration provided more details on its vaccine mandate this week. The mandate is for private companies who employ over 100 workers, but it also applies to local governments.

Broome County officials say it will be a challenge to get all their workers vaccinated—or tested every week—by the mandate’s deadline on Jan. 4.

Broome County Executive Jason Garnar said the first step will be figuring out how many county workers are unvaccinated.

Broome County Executive Jason Garnar. (Vaughn Golden/WSKG)

“You could probably assume that we have the same type of vaccination rate that the rest of Broome County does,” said Garnar. “So about a third of our sixteen- to seventeen-hundred employees are probably not vaccinated.”

If a significant number of workers choose weekly testing over vaccination, it might put a strain on the county’s resources, Garnar said. The county will also have to track employees’ results each week.

The county has struggled with staffing issues in the past, as COVID-19 numbers fluctuate.

“This will be a huge logistical undertaking,” said Garnar. “But like I’ve said, we’ve been preparing for this situation in case it arose, and we’ll be ready when the mandate takes effect.”