CHICAGO - On Monday, a judge ruled that Chicago Police can – for now – skip the COVID-19 vaccine if they choose to, but the same judge also said that officers do have to comply with the city's requirement that they report their vaccination status.
Dozens of officers are currently on a no-pay status because of non-compliance with Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot's vaccinate reporting mandate, and they will continue not to get paid.
The judge's order seems to only apply to members of the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police union. Last Friday, a federal judge refused a request from two other city worker unions to block Chicago's December 31st deadline of vaccinate-related mandates. Those unions will be back in court on Friday.
"I don't commentate on wins and losses regarding a judge's ruling," said Chicago Police Supt. David Brown. "But I will say we are proceeding with our protocol to get officers in the portal."
The Chicago Fraternal Order of Police and city attorneys will be back in court next week.
On Monday, Gov. JB Pritzker reacted to the Cook County judge's order blocking, for now, the city of Chicago from forcing police officers to get vaccinated.
"The judge is actually just affirming what we already knew at the state level and are doing," Pritzker said.
Supt. Brown said 35 officers are on "no-pay" status for refusing a direct order to reveal whether or not they've been vaccinated.
In about 30 city departments, all or nearly all employees have already complied with the requirement to report their vaccine status.
Lagging behind are police and fire.
Officials say that in addition to the health of individual first responders, they are concerned about people they encounter on the street.
"We’ve been following that at the state level, as you've seen, negotiation with each of the state employee unions in order to negotiate for vaccines. We want our most vulnerable people to be protected by the people who work with them," Pritzker said.