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Aldermen Will Try To Fight Chicago Worker Vaccine Mandate With Special Meeting

The mandate requires all city workers to be fully vaccinated by Dec. 31 unless they have an exemption. The majority of workers have complied.

Ald. Silvana Tabares (23rd) attends at a City Council meeting on June 25, 2021.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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CHICAGO — A group of aldermen are trying to undo Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s vaccine mandate by pushing for a special meeting this week, according to a Tribune report.

The mandate requires all city workers to be fully vaccinated by Dec. 31 unless they have an exemption. The majority of workers have complied with it so far: 85 percent have reported their vaccination status and, of those, 83 percent are fully vaccinated.

But the mandate has faced controversy from some corners — particularly the Police Department.

The Fraternal Order of Police, the largest union for officers, has encouraged officers to defy the mandate. That’s led to a battle between the city and union, which have filed dueling lawsuits against each other.

Some aldermen — who are not required to follow the mandate — have also pushed back against the measure, saying Lightfoot should relax it and allow workers to get tested if they do not wish to be vaccinated. They have introduced an ordinance that would cancel the mandate.

Those aldermen have now filed a notice that would require the City Council to meet this week, ostensibly so they can reverse the mandate. But a majority of aldermen would have to show up for the meeting to be held — which means the move could be dead in the water if the officials refuse to show, according to the Tribune’s Greg Pratt.

Ald. Silvana Tabares (23rd) has spearheaded the fight against the mandate — which has earned her the ire of Lightfoot, who criticized the alderman by name at a news conference. The older aldermen supporting the fight against the mandate are largely from the Northwest and Southwest sides, where there are large populations of city workers — including many police officers and firefighters.

As it is now, the mandate’s deadline is Dec. 31. Until then, workers are required to report their vaccination status; those who haven’t gotten all their shots must get tested twice per week, paying for the tests themselves and getting them during their personal time.

Workers who don’t comply are put in a “no pay status,” though it was not immediately clear Monday how many officers have been put in that status.

Just 70.6 percent of Police Department workers have reported their status, meaning 3,735 police employees have not complied with the mandate so far, according to data released by the city Monday.

Last week, officials said the majority of officers who hadn’t met the reporting deadline were complying and reporting their status once contacted by supervisors. They said just 21 Police Department workers had been put in “no pay status.”

Lightfoot said the city has contingency plans and she does not anticipate “any disruption in our ability to keep our neighborhoods safe” if non-compliant officers are taken off the job.

The Fire Department remains the second-least compliant department, as about 86.2 of its workers have reported their status. Of those, about 78.9 were fully vaccinated.

The requirement is meant to protect workers and members of the public with whom they interact.

Vaccinations:

• In Illinois, about 7.2 million people — or 56.79 percent of the state’s 12.7 million people — are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to state data.

• Across the state, 41,413 vaccine doses are being administered per day, based on a seven-day rolling average.

• Illinois and Chicago have administered at least 15,413,958 vaccine doses of the 18,486,155 provided to them.

• City data shows more than 1.59 million Chicagoans — or 59.4 percent of all residents — are fully vaccinated, and 64.5 percent of all Chicagoans have gotten at least one shot.

Everyone 12 and older is eligible to get vaccinated in Chicago.

COVID-19 vaccinations are free and do not require insurance. Anyone can call the city’s coronavirus hotline at 312-746-4835 to get more information on how and where to get vaccinated in their community.

The numbers:

• Twenty-five Illinoisans were reported dead from COVID-19 since Tuesday.

• At least 25,707 people have died from COVID-19 in Illinois, and another 2,843 deaths are probably related to the virus, according to the state.

• The state reported 2,013 cases since Tuesday. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois up to 1,690,274.

• Since Tuesday, 107,969 tests were reported statewide. In all, 34,999,894 tests have been reported in Illinois.

• Illinois’ seven-day case positivity rate was at 1.8 percent. The figure represents the percentage of people testing positive among recent tests. It was at 1.9 Tuesday.

• Illinois’ seven-day test positivity rate, which measures the percentage of tests that were positive, was at 2.2 percent. It was at 2.2 percent Tuesday.

• As of Tuesday night, 300 people with COVID-19 were in the ICU and 142 people with COVID-19 were using ventilators in Illinois.

• In Chicago, three deaths were reported since Tuesday. There have been at least 5,886 deaths from COVID-19 in Chicago. The city is seeing an average of more than three deaths per day, down 12 percent from a week ago.

• Chicago has had 302 confirmed cases reported since Tuesday. It’s had a total of 326,378 confirmed cases. An average of 286 confirmed cases are being reported per day, a 3 percent decrease from the week prior.

• Testing in Chicago is up 6 percent since a week ago.

• Chicago’s positivity rate was at 1.6 percent, down from 1.9 percent the week prior.

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