Only a few a dozen NYPD members were placed on unpaid leave Monday after refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine — but thousands of unvaccinated employees remain on the job with pending exemption requests, the city’s top cop said.
Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said 34 cops and 40 civilian members of the force — which account for fewer than .15 percent of NYPD employees — did not comply with Mayor Bill de Blasio’s mandate requiring most city workers to get their first jab by Monday.
“That’s very fluid. That could go up as the day goes on,” said Shea, referring to NYPD members forced on unpaid leave, while adding that applications for medical or religious exemptions are still pending.
“It could also go down and people get their vaccinations,” he added at the mayor’s daily press conference.
“I just remind people that we are what we are forgetting is the reasonable accommodation component, ” the top cop continued. “And then we expect that as those cases are reviewed, and people are either granted or denied, certainly in the case of denied people, people will choose to get the vaccine.”
The NYPD’s current vaccination rate was 85 percent Monday morning, which reflects a nearly 15-point jump from the start of last week, leaving just under 8,000 uniformed and civilian members without the jab.
Police sources told The Post roughly 6,500 of those employees put in requests to be exempt from the COVID vaccine on the urging of police unions as they attempt to fight the mandate in court. They are allowed to work as those applications are reviewed.
But sources added the NYPD’s Equal Employment Opportunity Division, which will review the applications, is expected to shoot down any religious exemption requests from cops who have nothing on file previously, such as requesting special accommodations for religious holidays.
Shea has put that figure in the “thousands,” but the NYPD has refused to give an exact number.
Those applications are expected to take a few weeks for the EEOD to review on a rolling basis, sources said.
One source mocked the religious reasoning on some cops’ applications.
“All these guys are now giving passages from the Bible, it’s bulls–t,” the source grumbled. “We have one female who has lupus. Now that’s different. Lupus and the shot don’t mix.”