DC Fire and EMS

DC Hasn't Disciplined Unvaccinated DC Firefighters, Paramedics

“My goal is to suspend and fire nobody, and for everyone to get vaccinated," the city administrator told News4

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It’s been almost one month since D.C. firefighters and all licensed health care workers were required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or face discipline. 

Though hundreds are still unvaccinated, none have been disciplined as of Thursday, News4 is first to report. 

Of the 2,048 uniformed and civilian D.C. Fire and EMS employees, 1,753 are partially or fully vaccinated, 294 are unvaccinated and 280 have pending exemption requests that cite medical or religious reasons. 

City Administrator Kevin Donahue said no D.C. government employee will be considered out of compliance with the vaccine mandate while their exemption request is pending. 

“There are some firefighters who we don’t have any vaccine record for. It’s a small number. It’s about 30, and they do not have a vaccine exemption request pending. Those are individuals who would be the first that we would take adverse action on.”

D.C. teachers must be vaccinated by Monday. 

As of Thursday, 76% of D.C. public school staff were fully vaccinated, with an 84% response rate and 268 requests for exemptions. 

D.C.’s health department has nearly 3,000 more exemption requests from health care workers including doctors and nurses. 

Donahue said there’s no timeline on which exemptions will be ruled. 

“We want to make sure that anything we do is able to survive legal scrutiny,” he said. “My goal is to suspend and fire nobody, and for everyone to get vaccinated.” 

Some hospitals have begun taking action against employees who are not vaccinated. According to the District health department, of the more than 80,000 licensed health care workers, just over 50,000 are fully vaccinated. 

All D.C. government employees are now required to report their vaccination status. The mayor’s office said 92% of workers have reported their status. They estimated that 80% were fully or partially vaccinated. 

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