COVID-19 vaccine requirement established for city employees


Illustration by Angeli Mittal

City employees seeking an exemption from the new vaccine mandate must fill out a HIPAA-enabled survey, and have 15 days to get their next dose if the city rejects their exemption request.

Ilana Arougheti, Assistant City Editor

All Evanston employees are required to either be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit negative tests to the city every week as of Nov. 15. The city first created the policy in mid-October, and by Nov. 5, over 82% of city employees were fully vaccinated. 

On Monday, the city announced it reached an understanding regarding the requirement with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the country’s largest trade union for public services employees. 

The city and the union are aligned in the move to mandatory vaccines. The city previously reached similar agreements with Evanston’s Fraternal Order of Police and International Association of Firefighters. All three agreements cumulatively cover approximately 97% of unionized city employees. 

Currently, federal law permits employers to mandate their employees to get vaccinated, though this permission is somewhat limited by the Americans with Disabilities Act and Title VII regulations. The city previously referred to an emergency temporary standard released on Nov. 5 by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, requiring all workplaces with 100 or more employees to mandate vaccinations. 

At this time, city employees are encouraged, but not required, to get COVID-19 vaccine booster shots as well.

The vaccination policy applies to all permanent, seasonal and part-time city employees, including contractors, remote workers, volunteers and interns. Staff are considered fully vaccinated either two weeks after their second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines or two weeks after the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 

Employees can request an exemption through a HIPAA-enabled survey on the grounds of a medical exemption, a religious belief or a preference for weekly testing. If denied an exemption, employees have 15 days to receive the first dose of their vaccine series or a single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 

City employees seeking a vaccine in light of the policy can visit to find a vaccination appointment or call 1-800-232-0233. Evanston residents looking for more information on the policy can also dial 311.  

Email: [email protected]

Twitter:  @ilana_arougheti

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