Covid News: New Work City Police Union Sues Over Vaccine Mandate

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Despite the city’s newly enforced vaccination mandate, which requires all municipal workers to have gotten at least one coronavirus vaccine dosage by November 1, the city’s main police union urged a judge on Monday to enable unvaccinated police officers to continue working.

The Police Benevolent Association of New York challenged a vaccine mandate for police officers that does not provide for the alternative of being tested weekly instead of getting vaccinated, according to a lawsuit filed on Staten Island, which has a lower vaccination rate than the citywide average.

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The complaint also alleged that the order, which was announced by the mayor last week, did not include enough safeguards for police who may oppose to the immunizations due to religious views. Mayor Bill de Blasio has stated that the city will provide “religious accommodation,” although “genuine religious exemptions” are uncommon.

While most cases seeking to overturn government vaccination mandates in New York and elsewhere have failed, certain federal courts have looked to be more amenable to claims that target vaccine mandates specifically because they do not accommodate religious views.

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Despite Covid being by far the most prevalent cause of officer duty-related deaths this year and last, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, police unions throughout the country are lobbying members to reject Covid vaccine mandates.

The city did not allow officers enough time to request religious exemptions, according to the complaint filed by the New York police union. To avoid being placed on paid leave, officers requesting exemptions must apply by Wednesday, one week after the order was issued.

As of this week, over 70% of NYPD personnel have gotten at least one coronavirus vaccination injection. The P.B.A., which includes rank-and-file officers, has usually supported a previous policy that enabled unvaccinated personnel to be tested for the virus on a weekly basis. According to the complaint, the “test-or-vax” provision was effective in ensuring public safety.

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