Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

An issue of ‘civic responsibility’: What readers think about county’s vaccination/testing mandate

Tuesday’s news that the board of supervisors would require all Santa Cruz County employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to weekly testing struck a nerve with Lookout readers. Here’s what we heard.

We asked Lookout readers for their thoughts about Tuesday’s mandate by the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors that county workers either be vaccinated or submit to weekly COVID-19 testing.

Thankfully, our readers aren’t shy with their opinions. Here’s what they had to say:

Some pandemic perspective amid this ‘Delta fiasco’

Vaccination is the only way out of this Delta fiasco. It is highly contagious. By the time someone tests positive, they have already been spreading the disease for days. Testing once a week is window dressing. Even testing twice weekly will not stop this virus from circulating. My husband had polio at the age of 2 (after receiving only two of the three vaccines) and he has been permanently disabled since then. Much of the current generation knows nothing of what it was like to live in a world of rampant lethal disease. We live in a society where we abide by all kinds of social contracts. We agree to help protect one another and our society. Unfortunately, many people seem to have forgotten this.

Michelle Massie, MD

Revealing numbers by department would be good public health

I listened to the supervisors’ discussion of the three options proposed by CAO Palacios: 1. Continue to encourage but not require vaccination. 2. Require vaccination with only religious and health exemptions and 3. (which was adopted) Require vaccination or weekly testing. I agree with Supervisors [Zach] Friend and [Ryan] Coonerty that choice No. 3 is unlikely to make a difference to the 10% of employees who have declined vaccination so far.

However, I believe that the public has the right to know which departments have the highest and lowest number of vaccinations so we can choose how and if we should interact or not interact with people in those departments. I have written my Supervisor Friend asking for this information but it would be great if Lookout can dig it out. Hint: Try the Sheriff’s Department. They are reporting to the Health Department, they need to report to the public.

In community spirit,
Maria Gitin Torres

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When I walk up to a public service desk or encounter a public employee — working for me on my tax dollars — I have a right to know if they are or are not vaccinated. I want unvaccinated public employees to wear an N95 mask at all times when they are at work. Is this too much to ask during the pandemic?

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Johanna Bowen

Non-vaxers should be paying for their own tests

I fully support the BofS decision to require employees to get vaccinated or test weekly. I only hope that those who choose not to vax are required to pay for their own tests, and NOT the taxpayers.

J Quist

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I fully support required vaccination for SC County workers, and I believe those that choose not to get vaccinated be required to personally pay for the weekly testing themselves.

Dawn Breese

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The issue with giving people the option to vaccinate or not as city workers is twofold. One issue is we the taxpayers are paying for the cost of weekly Covid tests. It is a personal choice and it should be a personal expense if you decide to not get vaccinated. Two is you could have the virus and not know it. You are now infecting your coworkers and possibly the public even if you get tested weekly. Keep everyone safe and get vaccinated or pay for a test 2x per week is my thought.

Renee S

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Civic responsibility at issue, not freedom

It’s a public health matter based on good science. Individual refusals are a significant health hazard for the individual and her/his contacts. This is an issue about civic responsibility, not “freedom.”

Arthur S. Dover, MD, DTMH

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Good work SC employees should be vaccinated! I approve.


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There has been too much hand-wringing about a simple scientific issue. There’s a virus out there. It can kill you. Get vaccinated or test weekly. That’s it.

Tom Graves

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Good! Unless the employee has a documented medical reason to not have the vaccine, they should have to get it. If boosters are found to be needed on an annual basis, that is another issue to deal with.

Judi Grunstra

For ‘the health of an entire community’

I favor vaccination requirements for employees of the County and other government agencies.

I also want vax requirements for any crowded events, restaurants, theaters, bars, gyms, etc.

Those who do not wish to get vaccinated should stay home or if outdoors stay at least 10 feet from anyone. They should have vaccinated family or friends do their grocery shopping or pay for delivery.

The health of the entire community is more important than the preferences of a minority of individuals!!!

Dianne Dryer

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If you don’t want to be told to get a vaccine, that is your option. But you threaten everyone around you so if your company or Santa Cruz County insisted on vaccination to protect those around you and you refuse then feel free to find a new job or get tested weekly.

Larry Corridon

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