Why police, firefighters are fighting vaccine mandates and what that means for their jobs

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John Yang:

Most New York City municipal workers are getting vaccinated, with the pace picking up as today’s deadline neared. Today, officials said 71 percent of fire department workers and 80 percent of police employees have gotten at least one dose.

But the city’s biggest police union continues to resist, and is in court to try to block the mandate, calling it coercive and the threat of unpaid leave for not complying arbitrary and capricious. It prefers an earlier plan calling for weekly testing.

City and state officials are making contingency plans for possible staffing shortfalls on Monday, the first day the leaves would take effect. In cities like Seattle, San Diego, and Los Angeles, police unions have urged members to resist vaccine requirements, even though COVID has killed about 500 law enforcement officers nationwide since the pandemic began. That’s more than all other causes of death combined.