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St. Louis County Council members plan to introduce 2 bills regarding vaccine mandates for employees

One bill would require vaccination while the other would offer protections for employees forced to get the shot

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — St. Louis County Council meetings have been contentious this summer with debate centering around mask and vaccine mandates. Tuesday night, the council is set to take up the vaccine mandate topic once again, as council members introduce two bills.

Bill 228, introduced by councilmember Shalonda Webb would require St. Louis County employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The bill was on the agenda during last week's meeting, but no vote was taken. 

Webb's bill would require St. Louis County employees to show proof of vaccination. Those not fully vaccinated would be required to wear a mask inside county buildings and submit to routine testing. 

If the legislation were to pass, any employee caught violating the ordinance would be "subject to discipline pursuant to the Civil Service Rules."

Councilmember Tim Fitch plans to introduce the "County Employee COVID-19 Health Protection Act." 

It calls for lifetime health care provided to county employees for any illness related to receiving the vaccine under a mandate. The legislation also proposes a $1 million death benefit for a county employee in the event of death due to the vaccine.

Lastly, Fitch's proposed legislation would not force county employees to use personal leave time if they were to be fully vaccinated and contract COVID-19. 

Tuesday's meeting is set for 6:30 p.m.

The CDC says COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, and that death after vaccination is rare. 

"More than 375 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered in the United States from December 14, 2020, through September 7, 2021," the CDC's website says. "During this time, VAERS received 7,439 reports of death (0.0020%) among people who received a COVID-19 vaccine."

VAERS is short for Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System.  According to the CDC, reports of adverse events to VARES following a COVID-19 vaccination do not necessarily mean the health problem was caused by the vaccine.