NEW YORK (AP) – New York City’s vaccination mandate for city workers went into effect Monday amid fierce resistance among a minority of workers in a few critical public safety jobs, including police officers and firefighters.
Sunday, 1 firefighter out of 4 in the city had still not received the first dose of the vaccine as required. About 1 in 6 police officers was still not vaccinated. It was not clear how many of them could have rushed to get a last-minute dose on weekends or early Monday.
Under the city’s mandate, those who have not received at least one dose of the vaccine will be suspended without pay. New York has more than 300,000 employees.
City officials said they were prepared for possible staff shortages, calling in vaccinated workers for overtime.
The head of the union that represents the New York firefighters, which has fought the vaccine mandate, has warned that public safety could be at risk. The fire department said it was prepared to shut down up to 20% of its fire companies and have 20% less ambulances on the road.
“We are here today because of a mandate that was given not only to our members, but also to all New York City employees, who gave us nine days to make a life changing decision. of their careers or whether or not they’re going to take a vaccine, ”Uniformed Firefighters Association president Andrew Ansbro told an early morning press conference.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city’s highest public safety priority is to stop the spread of COVID-19, which continues to kill a handful of people in the city every day.