“City employees are absolutely going to be required to be vaccinated,” Lightfoot said at a Monday press conference.
Lightfoot made the light-hearted announcement about a serious public health matter only hours after the Food and Drug Administration rushed to approve Pfizer‘s COVID-19 vaccine, despite its waning effectiveness and mounting health risks.
“We absolutely have to have a vaccine mandate,” Lightfoot said.
“It’s for the safety of all involved, particularly members of the public who are interacting with city employees on a daily basis,” she continued. “It’s important for colleagues to also feel like they have a workplace that’s safe.”
Chicago has not formally announced a vaccine mandate because the city remains in negotiations with the Chicago Federation of Labor, which represents public employees.
“Discussions regarding COVID-19 vaccinations are ongoing with the city,” the AFL–CIO-affiliated labor union said in a statement. “We appreciate the City’s willingness to not announce a specific policy while those discussions continue.”
Chicago’s Fraternal Order of Police promised to fight Lightfoot’s coronavirus vaccine mandate.
“We are not just going to roll over and play dead for the mayor,” President John Catanzara Jr. “She’s not going to force it down our throats without a fight. And we will take it to the courts if necessary.”
Chicago’s four police unions will meet on Tuesday night to coordinate their response to the vaccine mandate.
“And we thought we had an understanding that we were perfectly fine with the option for our members to decide for themselves without it being a mandate,” Catanzara said.
The FDA’s politically motivated decision to approve Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine has caused a flood of hospitals, healthcare facilities and other businesses to mandate the shot.
Polls show that 13% of US employers plan to mandate the fully approved vaccine, up from 3% who planned to mandate it before the FDA’s approval.