NYC police union threatens to sue if city requires cops to get vaccinated
08/30/2021 // Ramon Tomey // Views

The largest union of police officers in New York City has announced plans to take legal action the moment Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines become mandatory for law enforcement. Police Benevolent Association (PBA) President Patrick Lynch said that the union will protect its members' right to refuse inoculation. His threat came after NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio mandated that city employees get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Lynch said in an email obtained by the New York Post: "If the city attempts to impose a vaccine mandate on PBA members, we will take legal action to defend our members' right to make such personal medical decisions." He added in the same email that the city "has not indicated whether it will attempt to impose vaccine mandates on other city workers, including police officers."

NYC Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said in 2020 that officers would not be required to get inoculated against COVID-19. However, he appeared to have changed his stance over time – recently saying that he would "one hundred percent" support a vaccine mandate. "Everyone … all across this country really should be embracing these vaccines," he said.

Shea noted that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine received full approval from the Food and Drug Administration. "I think everyone [not yet vaccinated] should be lining up to get it," he continued. The 36,000-strong New York City Police Department (NYPD) already lost a total of 60 employees to COVID-19 as of writing.

Local news outlets reported that NYPD members who fail to show proof of COVID-19 inoculation must mask up while on duty – in both indoor and outdoor settings. The police department said in a bulletin that officers who fail to comply with the mask mandates could face "disciplinary action."


Back in January 2021, NYC unions lobbied for cops to get priority positions in the city's vaccination drive. However, NYPD officers themselves had doubts about COVID-19 vaccines. According to the latest figures, only 47 percent of the NYPD's uniformed and civilian workforce were vaccinated against COVID-19.

Police officers are now being strong-armed to get the vaccine against their will

De Blasio extended the city's vaccination-or-testing mandate to more than 300,000 municipal employees, the Post reported in July. Under the mandate, city workers were required to get the COVID-19 vaccine or undergo weekly testing for SARS-CoV-2. He first gave a deadline of Aug. 2 for workers to get the vaccine.

Workers in nursing homes and other living facilities run by the city were required to show proof of vaccination by Aug. 16. Meanwhile, employees at other agencies were given a deadline of Sept. 13 to get inoculated. The NYPD was among the agencies assigned the September deadline for vaccination. In a follow-up announcement, de Blasio said teachers and school staffers must also be vaccinated – lest they be terminated for refusing to do so. (Related: New Jersey, New York City mandate COVID-19 vaccines for school employees and government workers.)

Furthermore, the NYC mayor said that aside from undergoing weekly testing, unvaccinated employees must mask up at all times. Those refusing to comply with the new rule would be sent home and receive no payment for the day, de Blasio added. He defended his mandates during a July 26 press briefing: "This is about our recovery, this is what we need to do to bring back New York City [and] this is about keeping people safe."

NYC was not the only city that mandated COVID-19 vaccination for law enforcement. The city of Denver mandated its approximately 10,000 employees to get the vaccine by Sept. 30. The vaccine mandate put in place by Denver Department of Public Health and Environment Executive Director Robert McDonald applied to police officers, sheriff's deputies and firefighters.

Denver Department of Public Safety Executive Director Murphy Robinson said he was prepared to punish and fire city workers refusing the COVID-19 vaccine. "[The] mandate says city employees shall be vaccinated. If our folks don't comply with it … then I am prepared to do what it is necessary," he told the Denver Post.

Robinson's remarks followed an informal survey the Denver Police Protective Association (PPA), which represented a majority of officers in the Denver Police Department. The PPA's poll sought to determine how many of its members were vaccinated. Out of the 778 respondents, only 332 police officers – about 43 percent – said they received the COVID-19 vaccine.

Robinson said: "I was shocked by those numbers. It wasn't until the PPA put [its] numbers out there that I grew concerned. I thought we had a lot more people vaccinated. If we truly do have 57 percent of our officers not vaccinated, then an order is necessary." (Related: Denver to fire cops who turn down coronavirus vaccine, worsening shortage of law enforcement officers during time of increasing crime.) has more articles about U.S. cities mandating COVID-19 vaccines for police officers.

Sources include: 1 2

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