As of Sunday, one in four uniformed firefighters in the city still had not received the first dose of the vaccine, as required. Approximately one in six police officers were not yet vaccinated, as well as one in six health workers.
More than 3,500 city employees got vaccinated over the weekend, after the 5 p.m. Friday deadline to collect a $500 bonus if they showed they had received a dose of the vaccine, but before they were furloughed. .
The director of the union representing New York City firefighters, which has fought against the vaccination mandate, warned that public safety could be at risk. The fire department said it was prepared to take up to 20% of its fire companies out of service and have 20% fewer ambulances on the road.
“We are here today because of a mandate that was imposed not only on our members, but on all New York City employees, who were given nine days to make a career-changing decision, whether to go or not to be vaccinated,” Andrew Ansbro, president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association, told a news conference.
De Blasio says the city’s public safety priority is stopping the spread of COVID-19, which continues to kill a handful of people in the city every day.