(CALMATTERS) – Gov. Gavin Newsom and his administration on Tuesday appealed a federal judge’s recent order mandating COVID-19 vaccinations for state prison employees — a move that came less than two weeks after Newsom announced a student vaccine requirement. “The hypocrisy is so glaring,” tweeted student advocacy group OpenSchoolsCA, noting that the state’s prison guard union donated a whopping $1.75 million to help Newsom defeat the Sept. 14 recall election. In a scathing Wednesday column, the Mercury News and East Bay Times editorial boards excoriated Newsom for his “inconsistency” on vaccine mandates, adding, “The governor should back his tough talk with actions that match his words.”
The Newsom administration is also facing intense scrutiny for failing to release a report on “significant deficiencies” at the state’s COVID-19 testing lab originally due in mid-March. A Wednesday investigation from CBS Sacramento found that more than 1,300 California schools and districts have testing contracts with the lab — which currently has one of the slowest turnaround times in the state and where, as of August, a staggering 1 out of every 42 samples did not return a clear positive or negative result. Nevertheless, California’s $1.7 billion no-bid contract with lab operator PerkinElmer is set to auto-renew at the end of the month.
Meanwhile, the vaccine wars continue. The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday declared COVID-19 misinformation a public health crisis — the same day the Beverly Hills City Council restricted demonstrations near students and schools in response to a heated anti-vaccine protest and San Joaquin County voted to ban vaccine passports. San Diego Unified School District was hit with a lawsuit over its student vaccine mandate, while Sacramento City Unified voted to require vaccines for both students and staff. And Los Angeles Unified is standing firm on its requirement that all employees receive at least one vaccine dose by Friday in order to return to campus on Monday — which could result in thousands of teachers staying home despite the district recently pushing its deadline for full vaccination to Nov. 15.