SEPTA considers mandating vaccination as NYC and DC transit agencies issue requirements

A file photo shows a SEPTA worker repairing a trolley track during a cleaning blitz. (SEPTA)

A file photo shows a SEPTA worker repairing a trolley track during a cleaning blitz. (SEPTA)

SEPTA may be the next public agency in the region to mandate coronavirus vaccinations for its employees.

The authority already requires new hires to be vaccinated, but so far has resisted mandating vaccination for 9,500 existing employees.

Days after the city school board voted to mandate vaccination for all School District of Philadelphia staff, SEPTA spokesperson Andrew Busch said the agency took a cue from other agencies. Transit agencies in New York City and the Washington, D.C. area have issued vaccine mandates. The Philadelphia Housing Authority announced Friday that the agency’s 1,300 employees must be vaccinated by Oct. 15.

“We’re considering it,” Busch said regarding a SEPTA vaccine mandate. ”We don’t have a definitive answer yet, but we’re having discussions about it.”

Currently, the authority offers a $100 stipend for employees who get the vaccine as an incentive to boost vaccination rates among the workforce. Busch estimates that more than 60% of SEPTA employees have gotten the jab.

While discussing upcoming contract negotiations between the SEPTA transit workers union and SEPTA, union president Willie Brown said he supports vaccination but does not believe the agency should require employees to get the inoculation.

“I think the courts need to step up, and need to deal with that instead of having us deal with it,” said Brown. “As much as I think people should have the shot, I defend people’s right not to have it.”

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