Conflict between Chicago mayor and police union over vaccination

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Conflict between Chicago mayor and police union over vaccination

A clash between Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the head of the city’s largest police union over coronavirus vaccination intensified on Friday as the city filed a complaint against the union, arguing it was threatening an illegal strike .

City employees in Chicago are required to report the status of their vaccinations by the end of Friday, but John Catanzara, president of the Fraternal Order of Police in Chicago, urged police officers to ignore the order and risk loss of discipline or pay. has urged. Employees who have not been vaccinated will be tested twice a week, but are not required to be vaccinated.

Mr Catanzara released a video on Tuesday predicting that Chicago police officers would not report to work because of the policy. He added that if a significant number of police officers in the city refuse to test or report their vaccination status, “it’s safe to say that the city of Chicago will have 50 percent or less of a police force for this weekend.”

“Whatever happens because of the issue of manpower, it falls at the door of the mayor,” he said.

He escalated the controversy by releasing another video on Thursday, urging officials not to follow any direct orders from their supervisors to provide vaccination status in the online portal.

But, on Friday, the police union said in a statement: “President John Catanzara has never involved, endorsed, or encouraged any action to be stopped.” The police union also announced that it has filed its legal request for the courts to hear the case.

Ms Lightfoot, who has often faced resistance from Mr Catanzara since taking office in 2019, said in a statement on Friday that her actions threatened public safety.

“As mayor of Chicago, I cannot stand idly by nor do the rhetoric of conspiracy theorists threaten the health and safety of Chicago residents and first responders,” Ms Lightfoot said in a statement. “President Catanzara has repeatedly deliberately misled our police officers by lying about the requirements of the policy and by falsely claiming that if officers are unskilled and refuse to comply with instructions or orders from the City and the Department of There will be no result.”

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On Friday evening, a Cook County judge ordered Mr Catanzara to refrain from making additional statements on social media, encouraging police officers to refuse to record vaccination status in the city portal.

The police union strike is illegal under both state law and the union’s contract with the city, Ms Lightfoot said.

Chicago is following other cities across the United States in requiring city employees to be vaccinated or to submit to repeated coronavirus testing. Last week, Ms Lightfoot softened the original policy requiring vaccinations, saying public workers could opt out of the city’s mandate by the end of the year by getting tested regularly.

What to know about Covid-19 booster shots

The FDA authorized booster shots for a select group of people who received a second dose of the Pfizer-BioEntech vaccine at least six months ago. That group includes: those receiving the vaccine who are 65 years of age or older or who live in long-term care facilities; Adults who are at high risk of severe Covid-19 because of an underlying medical condition; Health care workers and others whose jobs put them at risk. People with a weakened immune system are eligible for a third dose of Pfizer or Moderna four weeks after the second shot.

The CDC states that conditions that qualify a person for a booster shot include: high blood pressure and heart disease; diabetes or obesity; cancer or blood disorder; weakened immune system; chronic lung, kidney or liver disease; Dementia and some disabilities. Pregnant women and current and former smokers are also eligible.

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The FDA authorized boosters for workers whose jobs put them at high risk of coming into contact with potentially infectious people. The CDC says the group includes: emergency medical workers; education worker; food and agricultural workers; construction workers; improvement worker; US Postal Service employees; public transport workers; Grocery store workers.

It is not recommended. For now, Pfizer vaccine recipients are advised to get the Pfizer booster shot, and Moderna and Johnson & Johnson recipients should wait until booster doses are approved from those manufacturers.

Yes. The CDC says the Covid vaccine can be administered regardless of the timing of other vaccines, and many pharmacy sites are allowing people to schedule a flu shot at the same time as a booster dose.

City officials have said workers who fail to report their vaccination status by Friday’s deadline will be placed on unpaid leave.

As the Baltimore Sun reports, in Baltimore, the leader of a police union told officers not to disclose the status of their vaccinations to city officials, amid talks over a vaccination mandate that would go into effect there next week.

Law enforcement officers have died from Covid-19 in large numbers during the pandemic, according to the Officer Down memorial page, making the virus the most common cause of duty-related deaths in 2020 and 2021. law enforcement officers.

Police officers in many departments have delayed vaccinations, and many other cities have issued vaccine or testing mandates. In San Jose, Calif., city leaders decided that just as a vaccine mandate is taking effect, unvaccinated officials are being allowed to remain employed until the end of the year, with increased discipline and testing requirements.

John Yoon Contributed reporting.

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