NYC's Unvaccinated Workforce Faces Feb. 11 Termination Without Proof of Shots

Unvaccinated city workers are staring at a February deadline to get vaccinated or face the chopping block

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Police, firefighters, and other New York City employees face their final deadline to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or be terminated come Feb. 11.

That deadline was announced Monday, months after the city's health commissioner issued an order that all municipal employees receive their vaccination series in order to work.

Any city workers staring down next month's cutoff was to be given notice by Monday, according to memos obtained by News 4.

The Feb. 11 applies to two groups: new hires who have not submitted proof of a second vaccine dose, if required to complete their series, and unvaccinated employees currently on unpaid leave who did not request to continue receiving health benefits past June.

“My number one job is to keep this city safe — that includes getting New York City vaccinated. City workers are leaders and have led the way on vaccinations. More than 90 percent of employees are fully vaccinated and that number is increasing every day," a statement from Mayor Eric Adams read.

New city employees brought on after Aug. 2 needed a full vaccination series as a condition of their employment, and were given 45 days to do so. There are roughly less than 1,000 "new hires" that have not met this requirement, according to city officials.

The other group, those on leave without pay and did not remain on health benefits as negotiated by the unions, are slightly less than 3,000 in size.

News of the deadline came first from within the NYPD after a memo written to NYPD sergeants warned of the approaching deadline.

"It has come to our attention that The Mayor has decided to move forward with terminating employees who have failed to get vaccinated," Sergeants Benevolent Association President Vincent Vallelong wrote to sergeants.

The union president warned NYPD members in his memo those who did not get vaccinated and failed to obtain a medical or religious exemption would be on the chopping block.

Excluded from that division of officers are those who filed for an exemption, or filed for an appeal, and have not received a final determination, Vallelong said. Those officers must still regularly test and wear a mask.

NBC New York's Romney Smith reports.

The union president told his members that on Monday the NYPD intends to notify all officers on unpaid leave, as well as newly hired officers who have not provided proof of a second dose (if taking a Moderna of Pfizer vaccination series), that they have until the February deadline to comply.

Veteran officers will also need to show proof of a second dose in their vaccination series, the memo warns. Vallelong said the deadline to show that proof has not been announced.

"Every avenue has been exhausted by Law Enforcement and others across the country in the courts, we have lost at every turn," Vallelong concludes his message. "With this in mind, I ask you to take the proper steps to ensure that whatever decision you make is best for you and your families."

On Sunday, Mayor Eric Adams boasted about the city's progress in combatting one of the most contagious variants, as well as boosting citywide vaccination numbers. During his weekend briefing, the mayor announced 75% of all New Yorkers have completed their initial vaccination series.

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