More than half of San Francisco’s unvaccinated police officers are seeking a religious exemption to avoid the city’s vaccine requirement

Of the 366 San Francisco Police Department employees that are unvaccinated against COVID-19, 193 have applied for religious exemptions to avoid having to get required vaccines, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

In June, San Francisco became the first major city to announce that it will require approximately 35,000 city employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or risk losing their jobs, The Los Angeles Times reported.

All city employees have to be vaccinated by October 13. Those working in high-risk settings like jails or nursing homes had to be vaccinated by September 15.

At the end of last month, KBCW reported that 88% of city employees were already vaccinated. About 2% did not report their vaccination status, and 10% said they weren’t vaccinated.

KGO reported the measure has gotten push back from city employees with some city employees saying they’d resign if the policy goes into effect.

In August, KGO reported the city recommended eight officers, seven firefighters, and two deputies should be suspended without pay because they didn’t disclose their vaccination status.

San Francisco’s Department of Human Resources told the Chronicle 157 of the religious exemption requests by police officers have been tentatively approved. The Department received a total of 296 religious exemption requests from city employees, 193 came from police.

DHR did not respond to Insider’s request for comment at the time of publication.

“The only way out of the pandemic and to protect our workers, is to ensure that as many people as possible are vaccinated against COVID-19,” Mawuli Tugbenyoh, chief of policy for DHR, told the Chronicle: “The damage that COVID-19 has done to our communities, health, and livelihoods is now preventable.”

As of Saturday, 74% of all San Francisco residents have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

*story by Business Insider