De Blasio: 12,000 NYC Workers Seeking Vaccine Exemptions Will Likely Be Denied

New York City mayor Bill de Blasio speaks during a news conference at the Rikers Island on September 27, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Jeenah Moon)
AP Photo/Jeenah Moon

Roughly 12,000 New York City workers have asked for an exemption from Mayor Bill de Blasio’s coronavirus vaccine mandate, but the Democrat mayor warned on Monday it is likely many will not be approved.

New York’s vaccine mandate for city workers went into effect Friday at 5:00 p.m., which stood as the deadline for employees to submit proof of receiving at least one vaccine dose. On Monday, the city began placing workers who refused on unpaid leave. About 9,000 employees have been placed on unpaid leave, but an even greater number, 12,000, are seeking either religious or medical exemptions. However, de Blasio warned on Monday that it is unlikely the bulk of workers will see their requests granted.

Speaking to reporters on Monday, he said the city must go through the requests “carefully and meticulously” and predicted it will play out over the coming days.

When asked if the workers will see their requests granted, de Blasio suggested it will not turn out in their favor.
“I don’t want to prejudge except to say what we know from previous experience is that it was–  certainly looking at Department of Education, we got a lot of requests for exemption,” he said. “Relatively few were granted.”
The mayor said the religious exemptions, particularly, are “pretty narrow criteria,” but the city believes it to be “very accurate” and “very fair.”
“So I think you’ll see a number of people ultimately find that the exemption is not approved, and then they still have that chance to correct get vaccinated come back,” he added, suggesting unvaccinated workers are making a fundamental mistake by seeking to make the decision for themselves:

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On Tuesday, de Blasio boasted that 2,000 workers who were previously unvaccinated “did the right thing” and got their first shot in the last 24 hours. Overall, he said 92 percent of the city’s workforce is vaccinated, “proving that vaccine mandates work.”

Last month, the Democrat said he preferred to “respect people’s intelligence” before forcing them to get a vaccine against their will. Evidently, he no longer holds that position.

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