City leaders provide update on vaccine policy

Chicago vaccine mandate
Photo credit Joe Raedle/Getty Images

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- City of Chicago officials announced Monday that 79 percent of city employees have confirmed their vaccination status, and that 84 percent of those employees are fully vaccinated, following the implementation of the citywide vaccination mandate.

The policy, announced in August, requires all city employees to be fully vaccinated or report their vaccination status by Oct. 15, 2021.

"Chicago needs to be proud of our City employees, who are committed to keeping our residents safe and will continue to do a phenomenal job at submitting their vaccination card or vaccine status to our City portal," Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a statement.

"I am thankful to everyone who has demonstrated their civic duty thus far by keeping our workplaces and city safe and our union partners for working through many difficult conversations to make this milestone possible."

John Catanzara, President of the city's police union, the Fraternal Order of Police President, has been engaged in a public feud with Lightfoot, and has refused to go along with the city's vaccine mandate.

Lightfoot recently directed the City of Chicago’s law department to file a complaint for injunctive relief against the police union and Catanzara for "engaging in, supporting, and encouraging a work stoppage or strike," according to a statement from the mayor's office.

Cook County Judge Cecilia Horan ordered Catanzara Friday to stop making public comments encouraging his members to defy the city’s COVID vaccine policies.

In response, the FOP filed a motion Monday asking Horan to recuse herself from the case and Horan has set a hearing for the matter on Wednesday, according to a news release from the Office of the Chief Judge of Cook County Circuit Court.

Lightfoot was asked during her press conference what is happening to police officers who don't submit their vaccination status. She said that the officers are put on "a no pay status and that the disciplinary process will proceed from there."

Employees who were not fully vaccinated by Oct. 15, 2021, including employees who have received an approved medical or religious exemption or who are waiting for an exemption decision, must take a COVID-19 test on a twice weekly basis with tests separated by 3-4 days, according to a city press release.

Employees are responsible for obtaining those tests on their own time and at their own expense, if any, and for reporting the results to the city. This testing option will only be available through Dec. 31, 2021. After that, employees will be required to be fully vaccinated unless they have received an approved medical or religious exemption.