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The deadline for health care workers in the District of Columbia tp be vaccinated was seven weeks ago and there’s now word that the licenses of seven from DC Fire & EMS have been suspended. City Administrator Kevin Donahue tells WTOP News the department is moving “to put those individuals on leave without pay pending termination.”
According to Donahue, 251 DC firefighters — about 10 percent of the work force –have asked for exemptions. There are seven members of the department who refused the vaccine and have not asked for exemptions. The article doesn’t indicate if those are the same seven being disciplined.
In related news, the DC Fire & EMS Department’s new job announcement (above) for firefighter paramedics has a COVID-19 vaccine requirement. Religious and medical exemptions can be requested.
It’s a small amount of the population of which more than 70,700 (health care workers) have reported they are fully or partially vaccinated. However, roughly 10% of DC Fire and EMS workers are requesting exemption from vaccination.
“I think it’s 251 firefighters who have asked for a religious exemption. It does not mean they get it. It’s important that we deliberate carefully because any denial we make, I assume, will get challenged and appealed. So we’re very deliberative in the way in which you go about reviewing those exemption requests,” City Administrator Kevin Donahue said, breaking down the exemption review process.
All the letters, which the city refers to as a “notice of noncompliance,” have been sent out, (DC Health Director Dr. LaQuandra) Nesbitt said. The next steps will be a written reprimand, followed by suspension, then termination.