More than 26,000 New York City government employees, including firefighters, police officers and paramedics, met the deadline for Mayor Bill de Blasio’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, according to data provided by his office.
The workers had until Friday at. 17 to get shots and claim a $ 500 bonus. On Monday, the unvaccinated urban workers will be sent home without pay, potentially jeopardizing response times from first aiders and interrupting other urban services.
The new figures show that 89% of urban workers have taken at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, with 19,000 urban workers vaccinated since de Blasio announced a vaccine mandate and eliminated the alternative to weekly testing on 20 October. While 30 agencies have vaccination rates at or above 90%, the NYPD, New York Fire Department (FDNY), Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and Department of Sanitation (DSNY) continue to show rates below 85%.
Nevertheless, there have been significant improvements from some agencies. According to the data, the NYPD’s vaccination rate rose to 84% on Friday, up from 79% the day before. FDNY’s rate increased to 77% from 69%. The sanitation department went from 67% to 77%. The Danish Prison and Probation Service, which is exempt from the mandate until December, still has the lowest vaccination rate of 54%.
De Blasio took to Twitter to praise the workers of the city, saying “they do not stop until the job is done.”
But even with greater turnout, unions continue to shy away from the mandate, especially firing unions, which have hosted several rallies against the mandate over the past week. Figures show that while 84% of FDNY employees have complied with the mandate, more than 4,000 of them may not be able to get in next Monday. About 8,300 NYPD employees also remain unvaccinated. Police held a retirement drive Friday and Saturday for employees who did not want to take the vaccines.
An unspecified number of firefighters have since gone on medical leave since the mandate began, and have temporarily knocked the service out of a number of fire companies, according to FDNY. Manhattan Community Board 12 on Friday sent out an email to residents warning of possible firehouse closures in Inwood.
“Already this weekend, you can see firehouses closed due to labor shortages,” was the email received by WNYC / Gothamist. “This will result in longer response times for fires and medical emergencies. Residents of Inwood may have to wait for businesses in the Bronx to show up. I know Engine 95 and ladder 36 are deficient this weekend with the option to close. “These closures can be fatal!”
FDNY maintains that no firehouses have been closed.
In a statement, FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said that “the excessive sick leave of a group of our firefighters because of their anger over the vaccine mandate for all city employees is unacceptable, contrary to their oath to serve, and could bring New Yorkers lives. “In spite of these actions on the part of some, the department will continue to respond to all calls for help that come our way.”
The impact is clear for residents who experience slow waste collection. As reported by WNYC / Gothamist, 311 complaints about non-collection of waste have increased dramatically since the mandate was announced.