Over 2,000 NYC Firefighters on Sick Leave as Vaccine Mandate Kicks In
Around 2,300 New York City firefighters have called in sick in recent days as the city’s vaccine mandate for municipal workers went into effect, FDNY Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro said at a press conference on Monday.
Nigro alleged that a portion of those firefighters were calling in sick to protest the mandate, which has met resistance in some municipal departments. As of 5 p.m. Monday, 77 percent of firefighters reported receiving at least one shot, along with 63 percent of Department of Corrections workers and 85 percent of police.
“If you’re sick, you’re sick, it’s a dangerous job. I get it. If you’re not sick, I want to see you back at work,” Nigro told reporters. “Once the members come to their senses and stop using medical leave improperly, they can help out not only the citizens of the city but their brothers and sisters who are staffing these units.”
While most of the city’s 350 fire stations are still operating, 18 were not in service as of Monday due to staffing shortages.
The shortage is placing strain on firefighters who continue to work, union officials said at a press conference on Tuesday. Uniformed Firefighters Association president Andrew Ansbro denied that firefighters were conducting a “sickout” en masse.
“By the commissioner’s own admission, the majority of members on sick leave are unvaccinated. They would not be working because they were sent home by Mayor de Blasio’s dangerous mandate,” Ansbro said. “You can’t have it both ways. This crisis is clearly on the mayor.”
Ansbro said roughly 1,700 firefighters are not vaccinated, in comments to Fox News on Monday. Across departments, workers have applied for medical and religious exemptions to the mandate.
Ansbro has repeatedly stressed that the firefighters’ union is not anti-vaccine, but that many firefighters have already contracted COVID-19 and believe they don’t need to get vaccinated. City Health Commissioner Dave Chokshi has said the duration and level of immunity to COVID-19 from prior infection is unclear.
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Published at Tue, 02 Nov 2021 15:16:22 +0000