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'I'm Not Going To Play That Game': Baker Against Mandating COVID Vaccines For State Employees

BOSTON (CBS) -- Gov. Charlie Baker continues to oppose mandating COVID vaccines for state employees even as he aims to reach herd immunity in Massachusetts. Baker was asked at a news conference Monday if he'd consider forcing public workers to get vaccinated in order to keep their job.

"We think this should be driven by incentive based approaches, make it easier to get vaccinated, easier to get an appointment, easier to find a location that works for you," Baker said. "The idea that I would kick somebody out of a job - especially in a kind of economy we have now – because quote, unquote 'they wouldn't get vaccinated right away' on an [Emergency Use Authorization]-approved vaccine? No, I'm not going to play that game."

Baker said he wants to focus on "making it easier for people and creating positive opportunities for people to get vaccinated."

"There are a bunch of people who are hesitant about this, who have very good reasons for being hesitant about this," he said. "And the idea that we would take those folks and basically make them choose between their rent and their food on the table and all the rest, when they have in some cases very legitimate reasons to be nervous about a government run program that's going to put a shot their arm - I'm not going there. I'm not going there."

Last week Attorney General Maura Healey, who has been talked about a potential Democratic opponent for Baker if he decides to run for a third term as governor, called for mandatory COVID vaccines for state employees.

"Look, you're there, you're getting paid by the taxpayer — you have an obligation, whether it's delivering public health or public safety," she said during an appearance on Boston Public Radio. "You're interacting with the public. That's a part of your job, by definition."

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