About 9,000 New York City municipal workers will not be paid starting Monday for failing to get immunized with the COVID-19 vaccine, while Mayor Bill de Blasio rebuked FDNY firefighters for calling in sick to protest.
The vaccination rate for all city employees, including police officers and firefighters, rose to 91% from 86% late last week, de Blasio said over the weekend on Twitter. The city has 50,000 uniformed service workers.
"Vaccine mandates work," the mayor tweeted. "91% of our City workforce has gotten vaccinated against #COVID19 and that number is still growing."
Enforcement of the mandate in the city of 8.8 million people was set to start on Monday, with de Blasio saying that employees reporting for duty who had failed to get immunized would not be paid. De Blasio on Oct. 20 ordered all municipal workers to have received at least one coronavirus vaccine dose by Nov. 1.
The largest police union in New York City last week asked a judge to allow unvaccinated police officers to continue working, arguing that the city did not give officers enough time to seek religious exemptions.
But the Police Benevolent Association of the City of New York said courts last week rejected its requests for an emergency order to halt the mandate's enforcement.
De Blasio said 2,300 firefighters called in sick Monday and there would be consequences if it was found they were not ill.
"If someone is faking sick leave, then that means at that moment they are AWOL, they are not where they are supposed to be and there has to be a consequence for that," De Blasio said during a live Twitter stream Monday morning.
"This is serious stuff. If someone is out sick when they're not really sick, they are literally potentially harming their fellow New Yorkers because we need them where they should be. Their fellow members of service need them where they should be. If they are doing something that violates the standards of their own department and violates their oath of office, if they are doing something that endangers other lives, the biggest thing they should be worried about is the moral question."
Information from The Associated Press and Reuters was used in this report.
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