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Caddo Commission rejects move to require parish employees to be vaccinated or submit to weekly testing

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CADDO PARISH, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – A resolution recommending Caddo Parish employees be required to be tested weekly if they haven’t been vaccinated failed during Thursday’s commission meeting.

Resolution 61 was proposed by Dist. 5 Commissioner Roy Burrell and called for all classified employees in the parish to be required to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination or sign a consent form agreeing to submit to weekly testing. It would require the same of all new hires. Under the proposed resolution, failure to meet the requirement would become grounds for discipline.

While no law stands in the way of employers requiring vaccinations, they are currently provided under emergency use authorization and the lack of full approval from the FDA has fed into hesitancy among some people.

All three vaccines authorized for use in the U.S. went through a fast-track approval process, although that process does not skip the normal massive testing required of any vaccine. Pfizer and Moderna have applied for full approval, and a Pfizer decision is expected soon.

Voting in favor of Resolution 61 Thursday was Commissioner Burrell, along with Lynn Cawthorne (Dist. 6), Ken Epperson (Dist. 12), Stormy Gage-Watts (Dist. 7), and Lyndon B. Johnson (Dist. 2).

Voting against the resolution were commissioners John Atkins (Dist. 9), Todd Hopkins (Dist. 1), Stephen Jackson (Dist. 3), Ed Lazarus (Dist. 11), Jim Taliaferro (Dist. 8), and John-Paul Young (Dist. 4).

Mario Chavez (Dist. 10) abstained.

In other commission business Thursday afternoon, a resolution calling for a moratorium on oil and gas operations in Caddo Parish and asking the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources to meet with concerned citizens also failed in a 6-6 vote along party lines.

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