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The Los Angeles Police Department is apparently more spiritual than anyone imagined, as more than 2,600 employees reportedly plan to pursue religious exemptions to the city’s Covid-19 vaccine mandate.
In addition to those seeking religious waivers, more than 350 plan to seek medical exemptions to the jab order, the Los Angeles Times reported on Monday, citing a city official with access to the data. City employees were due to make preliminary requests for exemptions by the end of Monday.
The mandate requires that city employees be fully vaccinated by October 5 unless they are granted an exemption. Those who get the waivers will face weekly testing to show that they aren’t infected with Covid-19.
Total exemption requests by police could amount to about 24% of the department’s more than 12,000 employees – far more than any other city agency. The rate of preliminary exemption requests was about 2-3% in other city departments, according to a local NBC News affiliate.
Only about 47% of the LAPD was fully vaccinated as of September 3, compared to an average rate of 69% for all adults in Los Angeles County. Six officers filed a lawsuit against the city on Monday, asking a judge to overturn the vaccine mandate while claiming there’s no evidence that protection through inoculation is superior to naturally acquired immunity.
The Los Angeles City Council approved the vaccine mandate last month, joining other major cities like New York and Chicago in compelling their massive work forces to get the shots.
Critics questioned the sincerity of the exemption requests, suggesting there’s no legitimate religious basis. “Ah yes, the great Christian Science-Amish wing of the LAPD,” one Twitter user quipped. Another commenter said, “I had no idea so many police officers were so religious, and I have no idea what religion is against vaccines.”
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