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Deadline Approaches For Allegheny County Employees To Prove Vaccination Or Face Termination

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Allegheny County workers have until midnight to show proof of COVID vaccination or face losing their jobs. But faced with the prospect of unemployment, it appears the number of holdout employees will be less than anticipated.

County Executive Rich Fitzgerald says the vast majority of workers have already complied.

"Overwhelming support. Well over 90 percent have put in their paperwork and so we really anticipate a high number," he said.

But departments that had anticipated a high number of holdouts say there are far fewer than expected. More than 100 corrections officers at the jail were expected to remain unvaccinated but as of Wednesday, less than a dozen haven't shown proof. Of 204 sheriff deputies and civilian employees, only two haven't complied.

"Initially, there were a lot of people who were dug in and they were going to face termination but as time went on they've turned in vaccination records," said Sheriff-Elect Kevin Kraus.

Still, parks worker Shane Chesher says as a Christian, he objects to the reported use of aborted fetal cells to test vaccines and went to a hearing Wednesday morning without that proof of vaccination.

Chesher: "They told me tomorrow, I'm terminated if I don't present my vaccination status by 11:59 p.m."
Andy Sheehan: "And what are you going to do?"
Chesher: "I'm going to walk the walk. I'm not going to talk the talk. I'll be fired tomorrow because I didn't comply with the vaccine mandate against my religious beliefs."

"These are the same people we extolled, told how brave they were, serving the public and today we're going to terminate them," said county Councilman Sam DeMarco. "If the numbers are so few, so few in number, why are we going to take their jobs from them, especially right before the holidays?" he said.

Fitzgerald said the order, while painful, is necessary.

"We're not looking to get rid of people, we're not looking to lose their jobs. We want people to step up to serve the county but to qualify as a county employee you must be vaccinated," said Fitzgerald.

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