Some 64% of NYPD members have been vaccinated against COVID-19, a marked increase from a month ago but still far below the rates among other municipal workers, officials said Tuesday.
In an interview on NY1, NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said that more members of the department — both uniformed and civilian — were getting vaccinated compared with the 48% from a few weeks ago. In some job classifications, such as school safety officer, the vaccination rate is as high as 75%, Shea said.
"Since vaccines became available, we have encouraged our employees, especially those who have contact with the public, to get vaccinated," Sgt. Edward Riley, an NYPD spokesman, said Tuesday in a statement.
"We continue to make vaccinations available at multiple times and at multiple locations," said Riley, referring to various NYPD medical units.
The higher vaccination rate among cops came after the department earlier this month began requiring officers to have received at least one COVID-19 shot by Sept. 13 or be tested within the preceding seven days before showing up for duty. Officers who failed to adhere to either requirement would not be permitted to work and would be ineligible to receive pay for each day of noncompliance.
Shea said he came up with the vaccine directive after it was shown that the NYPD was registering a vaccination rate in August of about 45%. Cops and the department's civilian work force were constantly being implored to get vaccinated as a way of combating a virus that has claimed the lives of more than 60 members of the department since the pandemic struck the metropolitan area in March 2020. Earlier this week, Shea said that eight cops were in the hospital because of COVID-19.
As of Tuesday, the city reported that 70% of residents had at least one vaccination against the virus. Teachers reportedly have a vaccination rate as high as 91%, with school principals as high as 97%.
One sticking point in the NYPD vaccine mandate centered on the initial condition that cops be vaccinated on their own time and not be compensated. As a result, the Police Benevolent Associate earlier this month filed a complaint with the city Board of Collective Bargaining, saying that officers must get their shots on job time and at the city’s expense. Any vaccination done outside an officer’s regular working hours should be subject to overtime compensation, the PBA stated.
On Tuesday, a spokesperson for the PBA said the NYPD was now allowing members to get tested on work time, nullifying the Board of Collective Bargaining complaint.