By Juli McDonald

BOSTON (CBS) — It was back on August 19 – more than eight weeks ago – that Governor Baker announced Sunday’s deadline for state workers to be vaccinated. The overwhelming majority have already provided proof, but there are close to 2,000 people who could be looking for new jobs this week.

“This is one of the best things you can do to protect your employees and their families,” Baker said.

Beginning Monday, managers and human resources departments in state offices across Massachusetts will be working their way down a list of some 1,900 employees to find out whether they got vaccinated in time. Governor Charlie Baker’s executive order requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination applies to about 42,000 state workers. The governor’s office confirmed to WBZ-TV that more than 40,000 of those employees have already submitted proof or applied for an exemption.

“It is very clear at this point that the vaccine is by far the most effective tool we have in our toolbox to make it possible for us to beat this thing,” the governor said when announcing the mandate.

Last week, Governor Baker activated 250 National Guard troops to help staff potential shortages at state prisons. The correction officers’ union told the WBZ I-team approximately half of their correctional officers had not provided proof of vaccination. That’s more than 1,500 people.

“With all due respect to the men and women of the National Guard, we have highly trained correction officers who have worked throughout the pandemic for 18 months and to now say 50% would be terminated it’s not right, it’s not fair,” said Kevin Flanagan, the legislative liaison for the Massachusetts Correction Officers Federated Union.

As for Massachusetts State Police, in a weekend letter to troopers, the union wrote, “almost 300 members remain unvaccinated, accounting for approximately 15% of an already understaffed workforce.” Prior to the vaccine mandate, the agency was already looking to the next State Police class to offset staffing issues. The 86th RTT will graduate Thursday.

Unless told otherwise, all state employees should report to work as usual Monday. Exemption requests are still under review.

Juli McDonald