Mayor de Blasio didn’t bat an eye at flagging coronavirus vaccination rates for cops, firefighters and garbage collectors on Thursday — even as the deadline for his municipal workforce vaccine mandate loomed just hours away.
The mandate requires city employees to submit proof of at least one coronavirus shot by 5 p.m. Friday, and de Blasio disclosed data in his Thursday morning briefing showing the NYPD, FDNY and Department of Sanitation all still have staff vaccination rates below 75%.
Nonetheless, Hizzoner said he isn’t second-guessing his mandate.
“I am not having second thoughts,” he said. “We expected that a lot of the vaccinations would happen toward the end of the deadline. We also know a lot of people make the decision once they really realize that they’re not going to get paid. That’s just the human reality.”
De Blasio predicted a sharp spike in vaccinations before Monday, when municipal workers who cannot show proof of at least one shot will be suspended without pay.
“Today and tomorrow, you’re going to see a lot of movement, and then I’m not going be shocked if you see movement even over the weekend when people get the formal notifications about their job status,” the mayor said.
In contrast to de Blasio’s confidence, NYPD, FDNY and Sanitation Department brass have said in recent days that they are preparing for the eventuality that roughly 25% of their workforces will be placed on leave once enforcement of the mandate begins.
According to the latest data from de Blasio, 74% of NYPD cops have gotten vaccinated, while the FDNY and the Sanitation Department have 64% and 67% staff immunization rates respectively.
With some staff shortages appearing inevitable, de Blasio said city agencies have prepared “exceptional” contingency plans.
“They have a variety of tools available — mandatory overtime, scheduling changes, there’s other options they can turn to to address the situation,” de Blasio said.
For example, the mayor continued, “We had a lot of times in 2020, where we had huge shortages of personnel because people were out sick with COVID, and the NYPD kept things moving and they will again.”
The persistent refusal to get inoculated among some in the municipal ranks comes despite the fact that de Blasio’s administration is giving city workers $500 just to get a dose of the life-saving vaccine.
As de Blasio spoke at City Hall, hundreds of municipal workers, including active-duty FDNY and NYPD members, marched on his Gracie Mansion home on the Upper East Side to protest the approaching mandate.
Looking beyond Friday’s deadline, de Blasio is facing an even more difficult challenge on Dec. 1, when Department of Correction officers will be placed on unpaid leave if they can’t show proof of vaccination.
The DOC is the only city agency that was given an extension to comply with the mandate, as just 51% of its officers have gotten their COVID-19 jabs, according to City Hall data.
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