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Deadline for state workers, educators to get vaccinated Monday

For some, it's either be vaccinated or get tested every week. But for some healthcare workers, testing isn't an option, and they must be vaccinated.

HARTFORD, Connecticut — Editor's note: Video above originally aired September 22

The deadline is Monday for state workers and educators to get vaccinated according to an executive order issued by Gov. Ned Lamont. 

The order mandated that state employees and educators be vaccinated by September 27 or be tested weekly for COVID-19.

State hospital and long-term care employees, however, do not have the option of testing in lieu of vaccination. 

The mandate caused pushback as members of the state Conservative Caucus and other educators and healthcare workers held a hearing last week, voicing opposition to the order. 

One nurse said she left Yale New Haven Hospital recently because she saw this mandate coming. So, she works for private practice.

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"And at my place of employment right now we do not mandate the shot," said Jenna Corso. "It is not mandated as we (her employer) don’t believe anything should be mandated that hasn’t been out of the market for a minimum of three to five years."

RELATED: CT legislature to decide if Lamont's emergency powers will be extended through Feb. 2022

Paul Kidwell, Senior Vice President of the Connecticut Hospital Association, defended the mandate.

"We did so understanding that the vaccine is safe and effective, and it is the most important way that we’re going to both stop the spread of COVID and protect our patients and colleagues in our hospitals," said Kidwell.

The mandate also prompted concerns from some parents who feared bus drivers would not show up Monday morning for school routes. 

According to Jon Hipsher of the Connecticut School Transportation Association, up to 400 bus drivers have opted out of this mandate.

Trisha Connelly is a bus driver from Bristol who said the mandate is a" gross overstep of government."

She was one of a dozen who came to the Capitol last week to express outrage over the executive order mandate.

"I do not believe that the government has the power to mandate anything for our bodies," Connelly added.

The Lamont administration says it's not only legal but responsible.

"We’ve provided opportunities for religious exemptions and medical exemptions and all of the provisions that lawyers advised from a legal perspective to make sure this was rock solid," said Connecticut Chief Operating Officer Josh Geballe.

Republican legislators have also urged the government to return to business as usual and called for an end to the Governor's executive authority. 

"We think that the government that is provided by our constitution should be restored," said Rep. Craig Fishbein (R).

A special session is being held this week at the state legislature to determine whether or not Lamont's emergency powers, which have been in place since March 2020, would continue until February 2022. 

The emergency powers will expire on September 30 if nothing is done. 

RELATED: Parents worry about school bus drivers not showing up Monday

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