The NYPD's largest union has filed suit against New York City over Mayor Bill de Blasio's impending vaccine mandate for officers.
The mandate has been on the horizon for months but was formally announced last week, as the city's vaccine mandate for Department of Education employees has withstood numerous legal challenges.
As of 5 p.m. on October 29, NYC's 20,000 or so unvaccinated officers must get at least one dose or be placed on unpaid leave, the city announced last week.
NYPD officers have had the option to get vaccinated or tested for COVID weekly. The testing option will go away if the mandate is implemented as planned.
The Police Benevolent Association is arguing that getting vaccinated is a "personal medical decision" that officers should make in consultation with their doctors; it should not be imposed by the city, the PBA says.
The PBA has filed for a temporary restraining order to block the mandate until the suit can be heard in court.
A few hundred police officers, firefighters and other city workers rallied outside city hall on Monday to voice their opposition to the mandate.
More than 60 NYPD employees have died of COVID-19 since the pandemic began. Many more have been hospitalized with the disease.
As of last week, the NYPD had nearly a 70 percent rate of vaccination. The FDNY lagged behind at around 60 percent.
The vaccination rate among Department of Education employees jumped from 90 percent to around 96 percent in the hours before the mandate took effect on October 4.
De Blasio says about 46,000 city employees remain unvaccinated.
"That's a lot of people, and think about their families, think about everyone they come in contact with," the mayor said. "We're fighting this war against COVID still, let's not kid ourselves. And the difference now, if we get people vaccinated, we're going to save tens of thousands of lives. If we don't, we're going to lose a lot of people who could have been saved and we're not going to get out of this morass."