NYC Fire Stations Shut Down Due to Staff Shortages After Firefighters Miss Vaccination Deadline
New York City municipal employees and other public workers were all required by Mayor Bill de Blasio’s order to receive at least one vaccine dose by October 29. Otherwise, they will be suspended from work without pay.
Hundreds of New York City firefighters took sick leave on Friday after the deadline for vaccinations had passed the day before, causing critical workforce shortages.
Nearly a quarter of the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) staff has not been vaccinated yet.
According to FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro, this happened “because of their anger at the vaccine mandate for all city employees is unacceptable” and noted that the mass sick leaves could “endanger the lives” of city residents, which is “contrary to their oaths to serve.”
“Despite these actions by some, the department will continue to respond to all calls for help that come our way,” Nigro said, as cited by reporter and author Ginger Adams Otis. “We will use all means at our disposal, including mandatory overtime, mutual aid from other EMS providers, and significant changes to the schedules of our members. We will ensure the continuity of operations and safety of all those we have sworn oaths to serve.”
He also stressed that workers are allowed to receive the first dose of the vaccine over the weekend and they would not be sent on unpaid leave if they provide relevant confirmation on Monday.
Despite the fact that many workers continue to protest the mandate
, there has been a sharp rise in vaccinations, as many workers rushed to meet the deadline. According to the New York Post, vaccination rates among the city’s firefighters have increased from 67 percent as of Friday morning to 72 by the end of the day.
30 October 2021, 21:06 GMT
The Emergency Medical Service, which is part of FDNY, showed an increase from 77 to 84 percent. Vaccination among NYC police
reached 84 percent, rising by four percent, and The Department of Sanitation – by 10 percent, up to 76.
This means that 10 951 firefighters, 36,000 policemen, 10,000 emergency responders and 7,200 uniformed sanitation workers may be suspended from work if not vaccinated. Meanwhile, authorities offered $500 to those who receive the vaccine after 20 October.
Speaking about the threat of mass personnel shortages, Mayor de Blasio said on Saturday that “by getting vaccinated we’re making the city safer.”
“My message to all city employees who are not yet vaccinated is: We care about you. We care about your health and your families’ health. We care about the health of the people we serve and come in contact with every day,” he noted.
On the day of the deadline, October 29, hundreds of NYC municipal workers came to de Blasio’s residence to protest the mandate
, introduced on October 20.
De Blasio obliged all municipal officials to provide vaccination certificates by Thursday. The mayor said that staff would no longer be able to get regular tests instead of vaccinations. Otherwise, workers would be sent on unpaid leave for a 30-day period starting from the first of November. De Blasio promised that the city would continue to provide medical and religious waivers.