Nearly 11% of Los Angeles’ 57,476 city employees have stated their intent to seek a religious or medical exemption from the city’s mandate that employees get vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data released by the city Tuesday.
About half of those come from the Los Angeles Police Department, which has 2,651 employees planning to file for religious exemptions and 368 planning to file for medical exemptions. The department has a total of 12,315 employees, of whom about 54% have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
The city’s deadline for employees to state their vaccination status and whether they would seek exemptions was Monday. The original deadline was Sept. 7, but employees were given an extra week.
“Every city employee is required to provide their vaccine status, and the deadline has passed. Anyone who hasn’t given us that information must do it now,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said Tuesday. “This policy allows for medical and religious exemptions to protect certain workers’ health and constitutional rights, but let me be absolutely clear: We will not tolerate the abuse of these exemptions by those who simply don’t want to get vaccinated.”
According to data released by the city Tuesday, only 48.3% of city employees reported that they are fully vaccinated, and 50.1% reported at least partial vaccination. Nearly 23,000 employees did not respond to the city’s request for vaccination status, and 5,688 reported not being vaccinated.
On Aug. 18, the City Council approved an ordinance to require non-exempt employees be fully inoculated by Oct. 5.
Exemption requests will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. People qualify for an exemption if they have a medical condition or sincerely held religious beliefs, practices or observances that prevent them from receiving the vaccine.
“How can we ask Angelenos to be vaccinated if we are not doing it ourselves? We need to set the strong example for our communities. The vaccines are available, they’re effective, and they’re keeping people out of the hospital and off ventilators,” Council President Nury Martinez said when the ordinance was approved.
The ordinance did not include finalized consequences for employees who do not get vaccinated and aren’t eligible for an exemption, and as of Tuesday afternoon the details were still being hashed out with labor unions.