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‘Thousands’ of NYPD applying for special accommodation to avoid the vaccine mandate

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Thomas Tracy

New York Daily News

“Thousands” of NYPD employees skirted Friday’s vaccination mandate by asking for a special accommodation from the city, claiming that their current health or faith prevents them from getting the life-saving jab, according to Police Commissioner Dermot Shea.

The influx of special requests came as more than 1,000 other NYPD employees got their first vaccination doses on Thursday so they wouldn’t be sent home without pay on Monday, Shea said.

Meanwhile, about 20 NYPD employees showed up at police headquarters on Friday morning to take part in a “retirement fair” hosted by the police Pension Fund in the event that cops would rather leave the job than get jabbed.

As of Friday morning, the NYPD was 80% vaccinated, Shea said on Fox 5′s “Good Day New York.”

“We’ve had a significant number of people getting vaccinated in the last three days. We’re in good shape,” he said. “The police department is prepared. We’re going to be OK.”

Earlier this week, the commissioner said only “a small number” of cops were expected to ask for a special accommodation.

Unvaccinated officers who filed those requests will be able to work and get paid as long as they get a weekly COVID test while their cases are reviewed.

It may take a month to review each application, a police source said.

The exact number of officers who filed special accommodation requests with the NYPD’s Equal Employment Opportunity Office was not immediately disclosed. But a second police source said every unvaccinated cop he knows had done so.

“Let’s put it this way — there’s about 40 unvaccinated cops in my command. At least 38 of them put in the application with the EEO,” the source said.

Mayor de Blasio previously set a 5 p.m. Friday deadline for cops, firefighters and most other city workers to get vaccinated, saying those who don’t comply would be put on unpaid leave come Monday.

Union officials estimated that 10,000 cops may be pulled off the street.

Opposition to de Blasio’s mandate led to massive protests in Manhattan on Monday and on Thursday, when scores of unvaccinated city workers rallied outside of Gracie Mansion.

On Wednesday, a judge shot down a lawsuit by the city’s largest police union to block the mandate.

Shea said that while the city’s deadline is Friday, cops still have the weekend to get vaccinated since they won’t enter no-pay status until Monday.

Contingency plans were already in place, the commissioner said, adding that cops in administrative roles will be put out on the street on Monday if there’s a personnel shortfall. All training sessions have also been suspended, he said.

Extended tours and overtime will be used as a last resort, he said.

“New Yorkers should not be worried about this,” he said. “We have contingency plans in place. This will not affect the cops on the street.”

Shea said Friday that retirements have increased in general since the pandemic, but didn’t expect a surge in retirements over the mandate.

An NYPD spokesman said that the number who showed up to put in their papers was “far less than expected.”

A civilian employee putting in her paperwork said she wasn’t retiring because of the mandate.

“It has nothing to do with that,” said the woman, who wished not to be named. “It’s just time.”

©2021 New York Daily News. Visit nydailynews.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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