One in Five DC Fire & EMS Members Seek Religious Exemption from COVID-19 Vaccine

The city is requiring firefighters and other health care workers to receive at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot by September 30.

According to a report from WJLA, approximately 20 percent of DC Fire & EMS workers (DCFEMS) are requesting a exemption to avoid a mandate requiring city employees to get vaccinated against COVID. The figure comes from the office of Mayor Muriel Bowser. The requests represent the vast majority of religious exemption requests across Washington, D.C.

Out of the 475 requests for vaccine exemption across the city, 419 work for DCFEMS, which employs 2,124 members.

Despite many DCFEMS employees already being vaccinated, hundreds still have not reportedly still received a shot. Bowser said that should change.

The city is requiring firefighters and other health care workers to receive at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot by September 30. If they don’t, they face potential disciplinary action.

Those DCFEMS workers who receive the exemptions can submit weekly negative COVID tests in lieu of receiving the vaccine. Other D.C. government workers were required to be fully vaccinated by September 19.

Some firefighters have pushed back against the city’s mandate, saying they would accept a compromise they consider less strict.

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