Prisons in New York City (NYC) are suffering a serious staffing shortage, which is set to get much worse as nearly 2,000 workers are estimated to have failed to comply with a Covid-19 vaccine mandate that passed last week.
NYC’s Department of Corrections (DOC) reported last Monday that 77 percent of its staff had received at least one dose of the jab – a statistic that is the lowest rate of any of the city’s agencies. This means that roughly 1,900 employees still had not complied or applied for an exemption. The deadline had already been delayed by a month due to existing staffing shortages in the city’s prisons.
Officials stated that the jail workers who have applied for medical or religious exemptions will continue to work whilst their cases are being reviewed. After the New York Post reported that the DOC declined repeated requests to disclose the number of applicants who had requested or been granted reasonable accommodations, a City Hall press secretary tweeted that 270 workers had made a request as of November 12th. Although, it is not known how much that number may have risen ahead of the deadline.
Those whose applications are denied can file an appeal with the agency’s Office of Equal Employment Opportunity.
It is believed that among the employees yet to get a vaccine, 1,095 are corrections officers and 168 are captains. Workers who choose not to comply with the covid vaccine mandate are being required to turn in their firearms, vests and shields.
NYC’s Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has already faced substantial criticism and subjected other city workers to similar mandates, said that he believers the vaccination rate among corrections officers will increase as workers start to miss paychecks or get the vaccine after their exemptions are denied.
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