By: Konrad Holden
According to a report from Quartz, about 30% of the New York Police Department could be put on unpaid leave starting October 29th for not getting at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. The firefighters union said that number could be similar for firefighters, 911 dispatchers, and emergency medical technicians. In a city that is already struggling to curb its rampant crime, a reduction in the force could drive crime rates even higher.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has mandated that all municipal workers become vaccinated by October 29th or be put on unpaid leave.
This includes all 55,000 NYPD employees and 17,000 fire department employees.
Mayor de Blasio is going one step above other cities that have implemented municipal vaccine mandates: New York City employees will receive a $500 bribe for taking the shot.
Both the police and firefighters’ unions have spoken out about the potential effects of the mandate. And the police union has filed suit to stop the city from enforcing the mandate. They have said that the “vax or test” policy worked well to keep the public safe and allow officers to choose whether to get the shot for themselves.
According to the union, the new mandate, announced only a week ago, does not give officers enough time to apply for medical or religious exemptions.
The New York Times has called the mandate “one of its most aggressive steps yet to increase vaccination rates in a city.”
“NYPD police officers are not a major source of transmission of COVID-19. Almost a third of the police force already has immunity due to prior COVID-19 infection. Police officers have not suddenly become a public health risk.” - NYPD union’s lawsuit against de Blasio’s mandate