Hundreds of NYPD officers have gotten the jab over the last 24 hours as a vaccine deadline looms that could force nearly a quarter of the department out on unpaid leave.
“This is minute-by-minute at this point,” Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said on PIX11 Wednesday morning. “As of yesterday, it’s 73 percent [vaccinated]. I think yesterday, we did 800 is the number I got. I don’t know what happened late yesterday into this morning.”
“We’ll be sending again notifications to people that our records say don’t have the vaccination and then we’re planning for contingencies at the same time,” said Shea, adding, “We’re going have vaccination sites open for the weekend for the NYPD.”
The police department has struggled to motivate reluctant officers to get the jab despite leaders fighting for cops to jump the line when the vaccine first rolled out in January.
The city’s top cop has repeatedly said he supports a vaccine mandate but refused to impose one himself as head of the department — instead putting the onus on lawmakers to make the call.
Shea also said on PIX11 that police brass are already planning to be short-staffed, with the deadline for cops to get the vaccine or be forced out on unpaid leave just four days away.
Officers could be tapped to work double shifts and overtime to cover for the officers who refuse to get the jab, Shea said.
During the peak of the first wave of the coronavirus, nearly 20 percent of cops were out sick with the virus.
The NYPD did not immediately respond with an updated vaccination number or a breakdown among the ranks of who has gotten the jab.
The NYPD’s largest union, the Police Benevolent Association, has challenged the mandate in Staten Island court, claiming the vax-or-test method worked perfectly fine, but the suit has stalled with the city asking that the case be moved into federal court.
The union told its members in an email Tuesday night that the deadline for filing for exemptions from the vaccine with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was Wednesday.
One police source told The Post many cops were trying to claim a religious exemption but added if those officers had never had a religious objection in their file previously, they expect it to be denied.
Another source said, “Most are gonna get it.”
After Mayor Bill de Blasio put the COVID-19 vaccine mandate in place for school employees, which includes nearly 5,000 police school safety officers, the NYPD vaccination rate jumped nearly 10 percent.