Alameda County to mandate COVID-19 vaccine or weekly testing for first responders

Alameda County Fire Department employee Max Shih, left, administers the second dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Julia Jackson, a volunteer at a Berkeley needle exchange program, at St. Rose hospital in Hayward on Jan. 27, 2021. Photo by Anne Wernikoff, CalMatters

First responders and people who transport others for medical reasons must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Dec. 21 or wear masks in the presence of patients and residents and test weekly, according to a new health order from the Alameda County health officer.

The order, issued Tuesday, is meant to protect medical patients in high-risk medical care settings and applies to law enforcement, firefighters, 911 ambulance transport workers and workers involved in non-emergency medical transport.

A COVID-19 booster shot is not required right now to be considered fully vaccinated, county public health officials said.

The new order applies specifically to people who enter high-risk health care facilities such as general acute care hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and among others, adult and senior care facilities. A full list of high-risk health care facilities can be found in the state’s Aug. 5 public health order at

Employers may require first responders and medical transport workers to be fully vaccinated and not give workers the option to test and wear a mask.

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