Jan 19, 2022 - COVID

Vax-or-test mandate boosts one Iowa county's rate

An illustration of a vaccination and a clock.

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Vaccination rates among Polk County's government employees increased almost 9 percentage points since its vaccine-or-test mandate began in late September, according to records requested by Axios.

Why it matters: Supervisors established the mandate as a public safety measure to protect workers, but there were some concerns that it could prompt an employee exodus.

By the numbers: At least 151 more of the county's 1,573 employees have gotten fully vaccinated since the mandate took effect.

  • Just over 77% of its workforce is now vaxxed.

State of play: No resignations or terminations have resulted from the mandate but one on-call security officer has been removed from scheduling until he complies with the requirements, according to the county's HR department.

  • Reprimands were initially made to multiple employees but they have since complied with weekly testing, county administrator John Norris told Axios.
  • Initial complications linked with sheriff employee testing are resolved, he said.

Of note: Des Moines does not have a mandate but recently implemented a voluntary reporting app to help track progress.

  • City employees are asked to file their initial status report by Friday, city spokesperson Al Setka told Axios.
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