Despite some grumbling, the vaccine mandate in San Francisco is working.
The city issued a vaccine mandate for it's 35,000 employees in June, and by August, more than 100 firefighters had submitted a letter to human resources refusing to get the shot unless the city met a long list of demands.
Now, nearly six months later, Fire Chief Jeanine Nicholson says most of her 1,700 members are vaccinated.
“Less than 20 who have chosen not to get vaccinated,” she said. “We're in a good place.”
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The firefighters union president said the city put those unvaccinated members on unpaid leave this month.
Union leaders said they have filed a lawsuit aiming to have the city allow them to collect accrued sick leave and vacation time while the city attorney's office considers exemptions and accommodation.
While that process plays out, the department is working to reduce a staffing shortage intensified by the pandemic.
The chief says COVID limits the numbers of recruits allowed in academy classes.
“We have mandatory overtime right now so members are working really hard we have a class graduating in December and a class starting in January for firefighters,” said Nicholson.
Overall, the San Francisco Human Resources Department says 98.2% of city employees are now vaccinated.