NYPD vax rates up 1% after deadline 1

The number of vaccinated NYPD employees increased to 85 percent following Friday’s deadline to get at least one dose or face unpaid leave starting Monday.

“We think we’re in really, really strong shape here,” said NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea during a press conference on Monday. “Members of the Police Department responded to this, they came to work as they always do, and there is literally no effect on service at this point.”

About 1,000 employees of the NYPD received their first dose of the vaccines at department facilities, the department announced Friday on Twitter.

This puts the NYPD ahead of other uniformed city agencies like the FDNY which has a 77 percent vaccination rate and the Department of Sanitation, at 76 percent.

“From the Police Department perspective, we’re going to be OK. We have contingency plans. Those plans are being actually scaled down in terms of, you know, what percentage are we at?” Shea said on Friday.

An internal NYPD document sent out Friday stated that, until further notice, no excusals would be granted for any reason other than scheduled annual vacation, individual vacation days, bereavement, military leave or regular sick days.

Former NYPD Commissioner Robert McGuire said such changes are made to meet any needs within departments. “I think the department can handle the shortfall in the workforce with overtime, with some change in scheduling and then, hopefully, classes in the academy,” he said.

Although needs can be met with such measures, McGuire said, it’s important to consider the uniformed members of service who left as a result of the mandate.

“You don’t want to lose experienced police officers and you don’t want to lose them for reasons that aren’t related to discipline,” said McGuire. “You want to address, how do we assuage and get people to understand that this is a very safe vaccine and very effective?” He said that if the percentage could reach around 90, it would be a very positive figure.

There are still approximately 9,000 city employees on leave without pay, about 6 percent of the workforce, and 12,000 who filed for exemptions, which will be determined over the coming days, said Mayor de Blasio at the press conference Monday.

“As you can see from the numbers vaccinated – different reality than some feared,” said the mayor.

Any of the employees on leave are welcome to get vaccinated and return to their jobs, said the mayor.

“Once you’re at that mandate point, it’s get vaccinated or lose your paycheck,” he said on CNN on Tuesday.

As of Tuesday, 92 percent of the city’s workforce had gotten a shot.

As for the NYPD, some precincts still had disproportionately high rates of unvaccinated personnel as of late last week, according to department data. The 100th Precinct in Queens, which serves the Rockaway Peninsula, had the second-highest percentage of unvaccinated uniformed members in the city at 47.8 percent, just behind the 68th Precinct, which covers a portion of northwest Brooklyn. The 110th Precinct in northeastern Queens and the 113th Precinct in Southeast Queens both had 46 percent unvaccinated.

If the precincts with lower vaccination rates and therefore more service members out on leave are also precincts with higher calls for service, more people could suffer, said Joseph Giacalone, a retired NYPD sergeant and professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

“If you have precincts that have high crime and high calls for service, if those areas are hit hard because of the vaccine mandate, you know all hell could break loose,” he said. “This could have been planned well in advance, they could have sat down with the unions, hammered out a deal and just got this done, but instead people on both sides like to flex their muscles.”

Giacalone said the mandate should have been implemented when the vaccines first came out. “The only thing I question about the whole thing is the timing of it all.”

“More people got vaccinated because they can’t afford to lose their jobs without pay.”

From his experience in the NYPD, he said if there is a chance to vaccinate oneself against a disease, “I think you go for it.”

Giacalone recalled the hepatitis C shots that came out when he was still on the job and volunteering to take them.

“You’re going into people’s homes, you’re going in and out of hospitals all day. The chances that you’re catching something becomes pretty high. So if you have a chance to vaccinate yourself against that, I can’t see why you wouldn’t,” he said.

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