Ingham County to vote on requiring vaccines or testing for employees

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INGHAM COUNTY, Mich. (WLNS) – Ingham county may soon require its workers and others who do work for the county to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or face required testing.

Commissioners say that this proposal was made with public health in mind. Even though there have been weeks of public comment, contractors told 6 News off-camera that they are caught off guard by the vote.

“We have an obligation to protect the health of our employees and the public and interacts with our employees. We know COVID has had a devastating impact across the country and continues to do so, unfortunately,” said Ingham County Commissioner Ryan Sebolt.

A resolution will require contractors to have an employee vaccination rate equal to or higher than Ingham County. The resolution has been in the works since August.

The requirement would only go into effect 30 days after the vote.

The commissioner behind the proposal says it’s one more battle in the war against the virus.

“Vaccination is probably the strongest tool, it’s one of many but its the strongest tool that we have getting past this pandemic and healing the harm it has caused,” said Sebolt.

Companies that have worked for the county before were surprised to hear about the vote. They declined to speak on the record, but say this will be a big change to future projects.

The commissioner says the proposal originally sparked outrage by some employees thinking it was a vaccine mandate.

“Obviously now this is more of a if you’re not vaccinated, go get tested once a week – so this will be a bit of a different situation. And I think there’s less opposition this time around,” said Sebolt.

The testing requirement will apply to employees and elected officials. It did leave out unionized groups until an agreement is reached with the county.

“This simply keeps us in compliance with the updated requirements issued by President Biden. So we’ll be in compliance for entities with over a hundred employees,” said Commissioner Mark Polsdofer.

Polsdofer agrees with Sebolt and says that all of these moves are being done to protect county residents.

“Both of these measures are being done to protect the health and safety of not only our citizens but also our employees,” he said.

The Ingham County Commission is set to vote on these resolutions tomorrow night with a public comment at the start of the meeting. Commissioners say that they do expect both resolutions to pass.

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