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Los Angeles County’s Superior Court, the nation’s largest trial court system, told employees Thursday they must promptly get fully vaccinated once a coronavirus vaccine receives full government approval, or face termination.

In a letter to the court’s roughly 5,000 staffers, the top executive, Sherri Carter, said staff will be required to provide proof of vaccination no more than 45 days after the federal Food and Drug Administration gives its final approval to one of the vaccines available in the U.S. Those with medical conditions or religious beliefs that prohibit vaccination will be eligible for exclusion from the mandate, but otherwise inoculation will be considered “a condition of employment,” she said.

“Ultimately, unvaccinated employees without an approved exclusion will be subject to termination,” Carter said. “Given the surge in cases fueled by the highly transmissible Delta variant — and recognizing that unvaccinated employees are at greater risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19 within the workplace, including to the public that depends on Court services — the Court must take every measure available to protect against the virus.”

To expedite their release amid the pandemic, the FDA approved a handful of COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use, which is a step short of full approval. The New York Times reported this week that the regulatory agency is aiming to give its final sign off to Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine by early September.

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