NEW YORK, October 20 (Reuters) – New York Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday ordered all city employees to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or be placed on unpaid leave, sparking criticism from a police union that has pledged to fight against the search warrant.
The mayor has set a deadline of 5 p.m. Friday, October 29, for employees to present proof to a supervisor. Seventy-one percent of New York City’s 160,000 workers have already received at least one dose, the mayor said.
The rate among police departments, where the virus has killed more than 460 police officers, was also around 71% on Wednesday, NYPD spokesman Edward Riley told Reuters in an email, up from around 47 % in August.
“There is no greater privilege than serving the people of New York City, and with that privilege comes the responsibility to keep you and your community safe,” said de Blasio, Mayor. the most populous city in the United States, in a statement.
But Patrick Lynch, president of the Police Benevolent Association representing the city’s 50,000 active and retired officers, issued a statement saying they should be given the option of choosing to be vaccinated.
âSince the beginning of the random deployment of the vaccine by the administration of Blasio, we have fought to make the vaccine accessible to all members who choose it, while protecting their right to make this personal medical decision in consultation with their own doctor. .
“Now that the city has decided to unilaterally impose a mandate, we will take legal action to protect the rights of our members,” he said in a statement.
De Blasio cited overtime and redeployments as contingency plans if a large contingent of these officers and other unvaccinated municipal workers refused to comply with the mandate.
“We have various ways of adjusting the use of labor,” he told reporters. “We are convinced that even if there is a temporary dynamic that some people are not ready right away, we will find our way.”
Municipalities, school districts and other jurisdictions across the country are grappling with masking and vaccination requirements. The number of new cases of COVID-19 has steadily declined in the United States since an outbreak caused by the Delta variant of the virus over the summer.
De Blasio said employees would no longer be able to get tested regularly instead of getting vaccinated, but added that the city will still grant medical and religious exemptions.
The mandates in New York and the state faced many legal challenges. In most cases, the courts have upheld the power of governments to impose vaccinations.
Workers at the city’s Department of Education and the New York City Hospitals and Health Agency have been on vaccination warrants since September. The vaccination rate in these departments is at least 95%, said de Blasio.
Civilian City Corrections (DOC) employees and uniformed DOC members assigned to hospitals and other health facilities are also immediately subject to the warrant.
But for other uniformed correctional officers, the vaccination deadline is December 1, as the city works to address serious staff shortages at the Rikers Island prison complex, de Blasio said. Read more
As a sweetener, city employees will receive a bonus of $ 500 for receiving their first vaccine at a city-run vaccination site before the Oct. 29 deadline, de Blasio said.
Reporting by Akriti Sharma in Bengaluru, Brendan O’Brien in Chicago and Maria Caspani in New York; Editing by Howard Goller
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