BOSTON (CBS) -- MassDOT is warning its employees that they have to act fast to meet Gov. Charlie Baker's COVID vaccine mandate deadline that takes effect Oct. 17. The transportation agency says it's already too late for unvaccinated workers to start the two-dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccine process, and they are urged to find a Johnson & Johnson shot.
"If you have not yet been vaccinated, the deadline to receive the first dose of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, has passed," MassDOT said in an email to employees. "The J&J/Janssen vaccine is currently the best (and only) option to be in compliance by the October 17 deadline, if you have not already received a first dose of the Modern or Pfizer vaccine."
Workers will be suspended for five days without pay if they are not fully vaccinated by the deadline. If they are still not vaccinated after that, a 10-day suspension without pay will follow.
"Failure to meet this requirement after the ten day suspension will result in the termination of employment," MassDOT said.
Employees have until Oct. 8 to seek a religious or medical exemption.
Baker issued the vaccine mandate in August for 44,000 executive department employees.
"The stark reality of employment with MassDOT after October 17 is that every employee must be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus or receive an approved exemption," the agency said. "We hope that each of you will make a well informed choice and we hope that you will choose to stay with MassDOT."
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