Message to the Office of the Santa Clara County Counsel

By Alex Eulenberg

sent November 4, 2023

Permission is hereby given by the author to reproduce and alter this letter in any form, with or without attribution.

Tony LoPresti, Kavita Narayan, and the staff of Santa Clara County Counsel:

I am a Santa Clara County resident, father, husband, and homeowner since 1998.

I have some comments and a request regarding the County of Santa Clara’s vaccination requirement for all County employees, contractors, and volunteers.


COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement for County Personnel:

This directive was signed by the then County Executive, Jeffrey V. Smith, and the then County Counsel and now County Executive James R. Williams. To my knowledge it is still in effect.

It requires that all employees be “fully vaccinated” with the following definition of “fully vaccinated”:

"It has been at least two weeks since the person has completed the entire recommended initial series of a COVID-19 vaccine.”

Since this memorandum was last issued (August 5, 2021) the CDC has revised its recommendations several times. It no longer recommends the COVID-19 vaccine that was available at the time (it in fact is no longer available) and recommends an “updated” vaccine. There is no longer such a thing as an “initial series.”

The memorandum starts out by saying it is “In line with orders and recommendations from the State and Local Health Officers” but this is no longer the case because neither the County nor the State health agencies currently recommend requiring any kind of vaccination for as a condition of employment, even in health care settings.

I request that you review this memorandum. Can the employment discrimination that it imposes be justified by adherence to any current guidance from County, State, or Federal health authorities? Can vaccination be considered a Bona Fide Occupational Qualification for any County job? Especially since having an “unvaccinated" status correlates with membership in various protected groups (certain religious and ethnic groups are far less likely to be vaccinated for COVID-19), does this requirement run afoul of various equal opportunity and religious freedom laws?

I hope that after reviewing this document you will come to the same conclusion as I have, that the memorandum must be rescinded in its entirety, and that the County of Santa Clara open its employment opportunities to all qualified individuals. If you disagree, I would like to hear your thoughts on the matter.

Alex Eulenberg

Mountain View