Connecticut Gov. Lamont is preparing the National Guard to replace unvaccinated state workers ahead of an upcoming mandate

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont
Gov. Lamont said that he was "optimistic" that state staff in Connecticut would submit their testing and vaccination information soon. John Moore/Getty Images
  • Connecticut Gov. Lamont said he might deploy the National Guard to replace unvaccinated state workers.

  • A quarter of state staff haven't yet complied with an upcoming vaccination or testing mandate.

  • Lamont's office said that this could lead to "possible staffing shortages."

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Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said Thursday he might bring in the National Guard to replace state workers who fail to comply with a vaccine mandate.

Under an executive order, state workers must either get vaccinated by midnight on Monday or begin taking weekly tests. Currently, about a quarter of state employees - or just over 8,000 people - don't comply with the order, the office said.

If staff didn't comply they would be placed on unpaid leave, the governor's office said.

This would cause "possible staffing shortages," it said.

Lamont has instructed the state's major general to begin planning for "Connecticut National Guard activation," his office said.

"In the event agencies that provide critical health and safety services need assistance, members of the Connecticut National Guard may be deployed under state active duty to support operations until replacement employees can be hired or non-compliant employees come into compliance," Lamont's office said.

Lamont's office said that more than 20,000 state employees, or 63%, were fully vaccinated, and nearly 4,000, or 12%, had started weekly testing as of Thursday afternoon. The remaining 25%, just over 8,000 workers, were "still in non-compliant status," Lamont's office said.

Other executives have warned that vaccine mandates could exacerbate the current labor shortage if staff members quit or are fired because they refuse to get vaccinated. Houston Methodist Hospital, which mandated the shot for its staff, said in June that 153 workers quit or were fired over the policy.

Lamont said he was "optimistic" that state staff would submit testing or vaccination information soon. He said that the state provided "more flexibility than our neighboring states" by letting staff choose to get tested weekly instead of getting vaccinated.

"There is no reason all our employees should not be in compliance," he said. "But as we have done throughout the pandemic, we will prepare for the worst to prevent impacts to the critical services the state provides."

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has also said she is prepared to call in medically trained National Guard members to replace healthcare workers who are fired for not complying with the state's vaccine mandate.

President Joe Biden announced on September 9 that he would require businesses with more than 100 employees to mandate vaccines or weekly testing. He hasn't said when this would start. Some companies, including AT&T, United Airlines, and Facebook, have already set their own vaccine mandates.

Numerous polls suggest that more than half of Americans support coronavirus vaccine mandates.

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