A New York City police detective has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to stop the city from firing him and other workers for refusing to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Lawyers for Detective Anthony Marciano asked the court Thursday for an emergency injunction that would block the city from enforcing a rule requiring all municipal employees to get vaccinated.
Marciano, a 10-year police veteran, was among a small percentage of civil servants who refused the shots and didn't qualify for a medical or religious exemption.
More than 1,000 New York City employees have been fired for refusing the vaccines, and others are waiting to find out whether their requests for exemptions will be approved.
Legal challenges to the rules have largely failed, but Marciano's case is still pending in a federal appeals court. In a petition to the Supreme Court, Marciano's lawyer asked Justice Sonia Sotomayor to block the city from enforcing its rule until that appeal is resolved.
“Each day more and more municipal workers are being fired for refusing the EUA Covid 19 mandate in a City riddled with crime, and rapidly decaying, in need of more, not less, skilled municipal workers,” wrote the lawyer, Patricia Finn.
Marciano argues in his legal filing that he has “natural immunity” to COVID-19 and the vaccines against the virus have “simply too many adverse consequences that applicant is unwilling to risk.”
Health authorities say the COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in the United States are safe, and they recommend vaccination even among people who have acquired some immunity from previous infections.
New York's previous mayor, Bill de Blasio, mandated that all workplaces in the city — including private businesses — only admit vaccinated workers, with certain exemptions for professional athletes and entertainers.
A police department spokesperson said the department would not comment on pending litigation. A spokesperson for the city's law department wrote in an email, "the Supreme Court has rejected numerous attempts to take up lawsuits on the vaccine mandate and a number of other courts have upheld the mandate, recognizing that it saves lives and is a condition of employment.”
Also on Thursday, leaders of the union representing city firefighters held a news conference to discuss the status of firefighters who face termination over their refusal to get vaccinated. A message seeking comment was sent to the Fire Department.