“We’re looking at all options,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday during his weekly appearance on Brian Lehrer’s WNYC radio show.
“In the coming days I’ll speak about additional steps for different parts of the city, our workforce and beyond, different things we’re going to be looking at, different things we’re going to be doing,” the mayor added. “But that’s still several days away because we’re doing a very meticulous analysis of what is the next step that makes sense.”
De Blasio has floated a potential vaccine mandate for the NYPD, the nation’s largest police department, for several weeks. The department’s vaccination rate has lagged behind the rest of the city, with some officers flat out refusing to get the shots.
As of Wednesday, 68% of the NYPD’s workforce was vaccinated, according to Commissioner Dermot Shea, compared with 76% of adult New Yorkers who have been fully vaccinated. The NYPD has about 34,500 uniformed personnel and about 17,700 people in non-uniformed support positions.
The discussion about a vaccine mandate heated up in recent days after Shea again said he’d support the move and fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro told reporters he’d favor the same for firefighters. At the same time, the Supreme Court denied a challenge to a city vaccine mandate for public school teachers, showing a potential legal pathway for expanding the requirement to other city agencies.
“We lost three members last week, two of them to COVID, and I think it’s all unnecessary, to some degree,” Shea said in August. “And I just, everyone I think, all across this country, really, should be embracing these vaccines.”
The state has mandated vaccines for health care workers and people in New York City must show proof of vaccination to eat indoors at restaurants or attend sporting events. De Blasio initially allowed public school teachers to get the vaccine or submit regular negative COVID-19 tests, but toughened the rule this summer by requiring all teachers to get a vaccine with no test-out option.
Police departments across the country have been faced with the prospect of being forced to receive the coronavirus vaccine and in some cases it has prompted frustration from law enforcement.
The Seattle Police Department has already seen 124 “separations” through August of this year, according to their spokesman. Now the department is bracing for mass firing of officers as hundreds have yet to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination. The vaccination deadline, announced by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee in early August, is set for Oct. 18.
Associated Press and Fox News’ Pilar Arias contributed to this report