Vaccine mandate goes into effect today for uniformed Department of Corrections officers

City efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 continue as the vaccine mandate for uniformed Department of Corrections officers goes into effect today.

News 12 Staff

Dec 1, 2021, 11:35 AM

Updated 963 days ago

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City efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 continue as the vaccine mandate for uniformed Department of Corrections officers goes into effect today.
Only 73% of Department of Corrections employees having gotten at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to officials. That means over 1,000 uniformed DOC officers could potentially be waking up today on unpaid leave and will have to stay there until they get a shot.
The DOC was already facing staffing shortages before this. In anticipation of things getting even worse, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed an executive order moving correction officers to 12-hour shifts to make sure places like Rikers are still fully staffed.
As low as the 73% number is, it's also a big increase from when the mandate was first announced and when only 46% were vaccinated. This lead the mayor to extend the deadline until Dec. 1, and the DOC offering town halls, family days and even a $500 incentive to get the shot.
However, it wasn't enough to avoid the need for the 12-hour shifts. Department of Corrections Commissioner Vincent Schiraldi said in a statement:
“While we hope every member of service understands how important it is to be vaccinated, we also recognize that we must be prepared. This is a step that other city agencies took and it’s one we felt was appropriate for us.”
The Corrections Officers' Benevolent Association, however, says it is exploring legal action to fight the mandate. It says it is afraid the lower staff numbers, and longer hours will only make things worse at places like Rikers where 14 inmates have died this year.


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