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62 percent of Cincinnati employees vaccinated, less than 1 percent request exemption

The figures released Monday include police officers and firefighters.
Published: Oct. 25, 2021 at 6:21 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - Nearly two-thirds of all employees with the City of Cincinnati are vaccinated against COVID-19, according to a city spokesperson.

The city employs 6,064 people, of which 3,753—or 61.8 percent—have “affirmatively attested to having received the COVID-19 vaccination,” the spokesperson said on Monday, the same day the city’s vaccination policy went into effect.

Fifty-six employees—or 0.9 percent—have requested either a medical or religious exemption.

Additionally, the spokesperson says there have been no reported instances of noncompliance.

Per the policy, employees who remain unvaccinated after Monday will be required to produce a negative COVIID-19 test on a bi-weekly basis.

We have reached out to confirm the remaining 2,255 employees unaccounted for by the spokesperson—or 37.2 percent—have opted for bi-weekly testing.

The city announced the policy on Sept. 1 after extensive talks with labor unions representing police officers and firefighters.

FOP President Sgt. Dan Hils commended the city’s approach.

The policy was originally slated to take effect at the end of September, but the city delayed it a month and changed the testing intervals from weekly to bi-weekly.

The city says it will attempt to return to weekly tests as soon as it can get enough tests for all unvaccinated workers.

The initial policy gave employees an hour of administrative leave to get tested, with testing events provided by the Health Collaborative and at-home tests provided by the city.

The administrative leave allowance would have ended shortly after the policy took effect, rendering the testing opt-out “unpractical” for firefighters whose jobs are 24/7, according to Cincinnati Firefighters Union President Matt Alet.

“Our ability to go and get tested on duty and off duty is extremely difficult operationally,” he said. “It’s going to be problematic. We don’t have the ability to say, ‘Hey, we’re not going to answer 911 calls because we have to get tested.’”

Cincinnati City Council member David Mann said last month negotiations with the unions were ongoing.

Per the policy, unvaccinated employees who don’t comply with the testing requirement or who test positive will be sent away from work and placed on leave using their accrued leave time or in an unpaid status until they comply or are released from quarantine or isolation by contact tracing.

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