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Commissioner Dermot Shea said Thursday there is a chance, however slim, that the COVID-19 vaccine would be required for cops.
“It’s not gonna be mandatory. That’s the plan right now,” Shea told The Post’s editorial board in a wide-ranging virtual discussion. “Could that change? It could. But I don’t think that’s gonna change.”
Shea on Tuesday said that the Finest would not be required to get the shot once it’s more widely available, though Mayor Bill de Blasio left open the possibility that that could change.
“The more this is voluntary, the better off we are,” he said.
The Police Benevolent Association union has come out against the idea of mandatory vaccines for its members.
Shea on Thursday confirmed that the first vaccines would be available to cops in the coming weeks.
“We’re planning right now that by the end of December or January we’re going to get the first group,” he said. “I think it’s a small group, maybe up to like 4,000 doses.”
Department brass is currently working out the logistics of when and where to distribute the doses, as well as which of the NYPD’s approximately 55,000 uniformed officers and civilian employees would be first in line.
“We’re navigating all these logistics,” he said. “When we have the conversation about who should get it and how we should distribute it in this first group — and we do expect bigger groups coming quickly after — we have discussions about, for example, the flu vaccine.”
Shea said that approximately 3,000 members of the NYPD work force took advantage of the department’s flu vaccine program.
“I don’t know how many people are going to sign up for this COVID vaccine,” he said. “I don’t know what to anticipate in terms of how many are going to volunteer.”
Shea noted that “a lot more than 3,000” NYPD employees have gotten coronavirus diagnostic tests, suggesting that the response for the vaccine will exceed demand for flu shots.
“We have the flu vaccine, which is a great program that not a lot of people participate in,” he continued. “But COVID is a different animal, and it’s certainly scared people in New York City.”
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