‘We want everyone to keep their jobs:’ Mayor Elorza discusses City vaccine mandate as deadline nears

Mayor Elorza said about 97.4% of city employees have complied with the policy. 

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE)- As the vaccination deadline nears for city workers in Providence, dozens of police officers are at risk of suspension or even termination.

According to the City, roughly 22 of Providence Police Department’s 449 officers are not compliant with the vaccination.

Mayor Jorge Elorza on Monday told ABC6 News he doesn’t want to see anyone lose their job.

“We don’t want to suspend anyone, we don’t want to discipline anyone, we want everyone to keep their jobs. We want everyone to get vaccinated,” the Mayor told ABC6 News.

At the end of 2021, nearly 100 Providence Police officers were unvaccinated and required weekly COVID-19 testing. Now, that number has declined to 27.

“We started with over 90. To get that number down so far, it’s really significant,” the mayor explained. “I’m really excited about that, that’s a big improvement from where we started. We’re committed to going this last mile to get everyone complied.”

As of February 25th, according to the City of Providence , 98.1% of city employees were compliant with the vaccination policy and 1.9% of employees were not yet in compliance. As far as data specifically from the Providence Police Department, 94% of sworn Providence Police personnel are compliant, and 6% or 27 officers out of compliance.“Employees have until end of day tomorrow to submit updated forms and then our Human Resources team will need time to compile and verify any new attestations that are submitted and these numbers may shift,” a spokesperson for Elorza told ABC6 News. “Through the end of the week, they will be reviewing data and following up or receiving clarifying information with anyone whose forms were not submitted. We will share updates and next steps when all of our data is verified.”

When asked about possible staffing shortages, Elorza said he’s working with each department to make sure staffing and operations continue to run smoothly. He said officials with the Department of Health have sat in on informational sessions with police, answering any vaccine related questions they may have.

Elorza said he expects the final documents and information to be reviewed by the City by the end of the week.

ABC6 News reached out to Providence’s Fraternal Order of Police who say they have no comment at this time.

Categories: Coronavirus, News, Politics, Providence, Regional News, Rhode Island