Jan 18, 2022 - COVID

What to watch after Philly delays vaccine mandate for city employees

Illustration of a pattern of syringes.
Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Philadelphia has delayed its vaccine mandate for city employees to Jan. 24.

Catch up quick: The city announced in November that all 22,000 unionized employees would soon be required to show proof of vaccination or get an exemption for religious or medical reasons.

  • The deadline was originally scheduled for last Friday.

Of note: Employees that fail to meet the requirements will be put on administrative leave for 15 days.

  • If they don't do so by the end of that period, they will be fired.

Between the lines: The deadline was pushed back as the Kenney administration remains in arbitration proceedings with city unions over the vaccine mandate, including the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5.

  • The city already has reached an agreement with unions DC33 and DC47.
  • The Kenney administration did not rule out more delays around implementing the mandate in the future.

Zoom out: The police and fire departments both have vaccination rates between 61%-70%, which are some of the lowest among city departments.

What they're saying: Mike Neilon, a spokesperson for the police union, declined to comment, saying, "We have nothing further to add on the vaccine front."

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