Thursday, July 18, 2024

City councillor Marc McGovern, seen before Monday’s swearing-in ceremony for the term, often knows public health news before it is announced widely. (Photo: Marc Levy)

Cambridge city workers don’t have to get vaccinated against Covid-19 to keep their jobs, but the city will make it easier for them to get a shot if they want one. The city will hold three vaccination clinics specifically for Cambridge employees and their families from 7 to 9 a.m. and 2 to 4 p.m. Wednesday and from 7 to 9 a.m. Thursday.

The news came from city councillor Marc McGovern, not the Cambridge Public Health Department or another city office. Spokespeople for the health department didn’t immediately confirm the information. McGovern’s advance news about Covid-19 plans has been reliable in the past.

City Manager Louis A. DePasquale has refused to mandate vaccination for city employees, despite a vote by city councillors calling for the requirement. On Thursday the Central Square branch of the public library closed for a week because of staff shortages. A second branch, Collins, on Aberdeen Avenue near Fresh Pond, closed for one day Friday because of lack of staff.

The city hasn’t provided specifics about how many employees can’t work because of infection or exposure to coronavirus, and managers don’t keep track, according to a response to a public records request.

According to McGovern’s weekly email of news, more vaccination clinics were held Friday and Saturday for residents of four low-income public housing developments for elders and younger disabled people: Millers River, Manning Apartments, LBJ Apartments and Burns Apartments. The health department offered the clinics onsite.

McGovern also said the health department will announce on Monday plans for Pfizer vaccination and booster clinics at the end of January.

Cambridge, like most of the country, has seen an explosion of Covid-19 cases since mid-December as the highly contagious omicron variant became widespread. McGovern said there had been 96 omicron cases in Cambridge last week, according to the results of genomic sequencing reported by the state’s contagious disease tracking system. The city health department believes omicron now dominates in Cambridge, he said.

The health department has urged residents to get vaccinated and boosted and to wear high-quality masks indoors, limit gatherings, get tested if necessary and follow requirements for isolation and quarantine.