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I-Team: 908 Boston City Employees Out Of Compliance With 'Vaccinate Or Test' Program

BOSTON (CBS) -- All Boston city workers who refuse to get vaccinated are required to test weekly or face penalties. But hundreds are not following the rules.

As of Friday, the I-Team has learned that 908 Boston City employees were out of compliance with Boston's "vaccinate or test" program. That means on top of not being vaccinated, hundreds did not produce the required negative COVID test last week.

It's an improvement from last month, when a spokesperson told the I-Team that more than a thousand workers had not met the requirements.

Finding an affordable test has been a challenge for the general public, but not for city employees. There are three free sites they can go into in order to comply. They also have vaccination clinics too, including one in City Hall where Mayor Michelle Wu got a booster shot last week.

Wu was recently asked if she's considering adding boosters to employee requirements.

"The City of Boston needs to be walking the walk when it comes to protecting the public, protecting our workers, and keeping up with the latest data," Wu said.

According to policy, workers who don't vaccinate or test negative are placed on unpaid leave. But when the I-Team repeatedly asked the Mayor's Press Office how many people that has happened to, they repeatedly gave no clear answer.

Instead a spokesperson said, "the number of people on unpaid leave varies from day to day", but didn't provide a number.

Tufts Medical Center Infectious Disease Dr. Shira Doron says more employees should get vaccinated instead of the testing option.

"Testing, especially if it's only once a week, it adds a layer of safety. But you could be negative on Monday morning and have an infection by Monday afternoon. It's one moment in time, so not as good, but it's something."

The city say that no one has been fired for noncompliance.

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