Somerville Board Of Health Rejects Vaccine Mandate

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SOMERVILLE, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — The City of Somerville will not add a vaccine requirement for entry to private businesses, after a board of health vote shot down the proposed mandate.

The Somerville Board of Health voted 2 to 1 to reject the mandate, that would have required proof of vaccination at places like restaurants, entertainment venues, and fitness centers. Board Chair Dr. Brian Green, who voted against the mandate, said while vaccines do help stop the spread of COVID, a vaccine requirement is not necessary at this point.

"This policy, at the time of thinking about it and putting it together made good sense," Dr. Green said, citing that the Omicron variant appears to be less severe than the previous Delta variant. "I'm just not sure tactically if this is the way to get what we want as a public health community."

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Dr. Green said part of his decision to vote the mandate down was his wish to connect with the community and encourage them to get vaccinated, without making residents feel like the government is forcing them to get their shots.

"I would rather try to build the trust of the community that this is not something we are trying to force people to do against their will," Green said. "We actually want them to understand the rationale, see the real data, and the true information."

The proposed mandate was similar to the one implemented by the city of Boston on Jan. 15, as a part of the city's "Be Together" plan. Dr. Green said going forward, Somerville's focus will be on masking and testing, while encouraging residents to get vaccinated.

WBZ's James Rojas (@JamesRojasNews) reports.

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