New York, NY – New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday announced that all public employees must get their first vaccine shot by Oct. 29 or be placed on unpaid leave.
De Blasio said on Oct. 20 that the city had eliminated the testing option that city workforce had previously been given and would require everyone to show proof they had been vaccinated, WABC reported.
“We need to save lives, and we do it with vaccinations,” the mayor said at a press briefing.
He said employees would receive an extra $500 in their paycheck if they get their first shot at a city-run vaccination clinic between Oct. 20 and 5 p.m. on Oct. 29, WABC reported.
De Blasio said that city employees who did not comply with the order to get at least their first shot before the deadline would be put on unpaid administrative leave.
He said their future employment with the city would depend on what happened in negotiations with labor unions, WABC reported.
The new mandate included all members of the New York Police Department (NYPD), the fire department, and city’s department of sanitation and goes into effect on Nov. 1.
Corrections officers have until Dec. 1 to get vaccinated because of a unique situation at Rikers Island, the mayor said.
The city had previously reported that about 69 percent of police and 60 percent of firefighters have been vaccinated, WABC reported.
The NYPD Police Benevolent Association (PBA), the union that represents most of the rank-and-file of the police force, has said that getting vaccinated was “a medical decision that members must make in consultation with their own health care providers.”
New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi will sign an order to formalize the mandate that will immediately apply to about 160,500 city employees, WABC reported.
The city has claimed that about 71 percent of all city employees have gotten at least one shot of the vaccine, as well as 95 percent of city-run hospital employees and 69 percent in schools, two places were vaccinations were already mandatory for all employees.
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) October 20, 2021
.@NYCMayor announces vaccine mandate for New York City workers.
Read more: pic.twitter.com/EoScxvAXd9
— City of New York (@nycgov) October 20, 2021
Despite pushback on vaccinate mandates by law enforcement officers nationwide, the mayor said it was the responsibility of public employees to get vaccinated to protect citizens, WNBC reported.
“The vaccine is what has allowed us to fight back against COVID and save tens of thousands of lives. And there’s still a lot of city employees who are not vaccinated,” de Blasio said. “I want to protect them. I want to protect their families. I want to protect all the people that they come in contact within this city.”
“Law enforcement has borne the brunt of COVID,” the mayor continued. “In this nation in the last two years, 460 law enforcement officers have been lost to COVID. We’ve got to protect them.”
“This vaccine mandate allows us to do that,” he added.
On Tuesday, the Chicago Police Department stripped 40 officers of their law enforcement powers after they refused to disclose their vaccination status to the city.
All but 19 of those officers ultimately opted to fall in line with the mayor’s order by the end of the day and had their police powers immediately restored, WGN reported.
The officers who refused to comply were required to hand over their police identification, badges, and shields and were placed on unpaid leave.
The same day, 127 Washington State Patrol employees were terminated for failure to comply with the state’s vaccine mandate, KING reported.
As a result, the state patrol lost 74 commissioned officers, including 67 state troopers, six sergeants, and one captain.
The other employees who were fired worked as dispatchers, administrators, and instructors, according to KING.
Earlier this week, multiple Seattle police officers took to flying Gadsden flags from the patrol vehicles to signal their displeasure over the mandate that has decimated their police force.