Midnight tonight marks the deadline for certain city employees to comply with the city’s Covid-19 vaccine mandate, after which hundreds of unvaccinated employees of the San Francisco Police Department may be placed on administrative leave.
Police Chief Bill Scott told the Police Commission on Wednesday evening that 118 sworn officers remain unvaccinated. Sixty-one more are partially vaccinated.
In addition to the sworn officers, 31 other employees of the police department are not vaccinated, Scott said, and 11 are partially vaccinated.
The health order issued by the Department of Public Health last month requires full vaccination by Oct. 13, which means a total of 221 employees may not be allowed to come to work on Thursday morning.
Scott, however, didn’t want to speak too soon. “These numbers are changing,” he said. “By tomorrow, we’ll have a full picture of where we stand.”
But after midnight, “any employee who is not fully vaccinated will not be allowed to work the field,” Scott confirmed, and will be put on administrative leave. If those employees are found to fail compliance, they will be sent to a nondisciplinary hearing before the Police Commission, and may ultimately be dismissed from their positions.
In response to a question by a commissioner, Scott said that all members of the SFPD at the captain level or above had followed protocol and gotten their vaccine.
Vaccination rates within the department have indeed improved ahead of the impending deadline: Since last week, almost 30 more sworn officers have begun a covid vaccine regimen, according to the police department’s numbers.
Currently, about 90 percent of the department’s 2,113 sworn officers are fully vaccinated, Scott said. And, when the partially vaccinated officers get their second shot, he said the number will go up to 92.5 percent.
He also noted that 33 employees had uploaded their documentation to the department incorrectly, meaning they may be partially or fully vaccinated, but need to resubmit their information.
For the past few weeks, the police department has been in the process of redeploying and reorganizing its ranks in preparation for the likely loss of many members.
“We’re going to have to make some deployment adjustments if we do end up losing that many officers,” Scott said. “And some of the specialized units will maybe temporarily shut down until we can get our deployment back up.”
Meanwhile, he said, a police department physician and doctors from the Department of Public Health have been offering services to unvaccinated employees of the police department, including advising them on vaccines.
KTVU2 reported that a statement from the Police Officers Association referred to the vaccine requirement as “defunding the police, masquerading as a vaccine mandate; the only people this makes happy are criminal enablers such as Chesa Boudin.“
The Safer Return Together health order also requires other employees working in “high-risk” settings, such as pharmacists, home healthcare workers, and operators of large events, to be fully vaccinated by tonight’s deadline.
All other city employees have until Nov. 1 to be fully vaccinated, and are advised to schedule their last shot for no later than Oct. 18.