Recently, I reported on how New York City’s Covid-19 vaccination mandate might negatively affect the city’s policing and firefighting abilities; with a huge percentage of police and firemen declaring that they’ll reject the vaccination requirement, the city might be in for more fires and even more crime.
Well, it appears that that process is already starting. The vaccination mandate went into effect on Friday, the 29th of October, and the very next day 26 New York City Firehouses were forced to close because of staffing shortages brought about by the vaccine mandate. Enforcement of the mandate won’t begin until Monday. Here’s what the New York Post reported:
The FDNY shuttered 26 fire companies citywide on Saturday due to staff shortages caused by the COVID-19 vaccination mandate, according to furious elected officials, who ripped the move as “unconscionable” — and warned it could have catastrophic consequences.
[…] “Twenty six companies out of service is an unconscionable number,” said Councilman Joe Borelli, a Staten Island Republican who chairs the committee on fire and emergency management. “The firefighters who are unable to work have all been tested within the week and are not Covid positive, and I doubt New Yorkers care about the vaccine status of the person applying defibrillators to their chest
[…] The FDNY’s vaccination rate was at 72 percent at the end of Friday. the city’s deadline for workers to get at least one shot of the Covid vaccine. The mandate is expected to be enforced beginning Monday. The NYPD’s number stood at 84 percent vaccinated.
The New York Post also notes that the battle between City Hall and the firefighters is largely over whether those with natural immunity need to get the vaccine. Many of the currently unvaccinated firefighters insist that because they’ve already had Covid, they don’t need to get the jab, whereas the city is insisting that everyone get at least one dose of the shot.
To protest the jab mandate, hundreds of firefighters are calling in sick. As a result, the city is having to temporarily close fire companies and call for volunteers to replace those that refuse to get the vaccine.
Many in the city support the firefighters and their efforts to resist the mandate. Nicole Malliiotakis (R-SI, Brooklyn) had this to say about the mandate-caused closures:
.@FDNY Ladder 149 in Dyker Heights #Brooklyn was closed today due to Mayor de Blasio’s overreaching vaccine mandate. If he doesn’t reverse course, the city will lose first responders and put New Yorkers in more danger. pic.twitter.com/jVo1WUVkgM
— Nicole Malliotakis (@NMalliotakis) October 30, 2021
Similarly, the NYP reports that “residents rallied outside of the Ladder Company 149 in Dyker Heights to support the firefighters.” Their rally can be seen here:
Dyker Heights community is turning out to support the FDNY at E284 L149. Our neighbors welcomed our services during the pandemic & they refuse to lose us. We aren't anti-vaccine & don't hold anyone elses decision against them…. we are anti-mandate. #HoldTheLine #FDNY pic.twitter.com/0powxpEihc
— NYCFireWire (@NYCFireWire) October 30, 2021
Not all in the city have been supportive, however.
For example, Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro had this to say:
“Irresponsible bogus sick leave by some of our members is creating a danger for New Yorkers and their fellow Firefighters. They need to return to work or risk the consequences of their actions.”
Others ripped the closures as “unconscionable.”
This may be only the beginning. Last week, the FDNY boldly declared that it would be willing to close up to 20% of New York City’s fire companies to resist the jab mandate. For reference, the 26 Saturday closures only represented ~7% of the city’s fire companies.
And firefighters aren’t the only ones resisting the jab mandate. Tens of thousands of city workers, all required to have gotten the jab by Friday the 29th, haven’t done so and show no indication that they will. Among them are 16% of the NYPD; in a city already struggling with skyrocketing crime, losing that many police officers would be devastating both for residents and the city’s image.
Mayor Bill De Blasio, however, has shown no signs of backing down. Most recently, he declared that the vaccination deadline would not be extended. If this weekend’s fire company closures are any indication, De Blasio’s Big Apple might soon be without a sufficient number of police and firemen.