More Than 2,000 NYC Firefighters Have Called In Sick Over Past Week Ahead Of COVID-19 Vaccine Deadline


In the runup to the deadline for New York City workers to get the COVID-19 vaccine, more than 2,000 firefighters took sick days in what city officials call a protest.

The New York Times reported that the firefighters have called out sick in just the past week ahead of the vaccine deadline, which is Monday.

“Irresponsible bogus sick leave by some of our members is creating a danger for New Yorkers and their fellow firefighters,” Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro said in a statement, before saying firefighters were using sick days due to “anger at the vaccine mandate.”

Another possibility for the increase in sick days is the fact that some people can feel ill after the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and are receiving that second dose just in time for the deadline. Andrew Ansbro, president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association, told the Times that the sick days were used to handle the side effects of the vaccine.

“Hundreds of guys are feeling flu-like symptoms, because that’s what the shot does to people,” Ansbro told the outlet.

Frank Dwyer, the New York Fire Department’s deputy commissioner for public information, told the Times that more than 2,000 fire department personnel had used sick days in the past week. The total number of uniformed fire personnel in New York City is about 11,000. The increase in sick days has “put a strain” on operations, the Times reported.

“The department said that all its firehouses remain open, but maintaining coverage across the city has required shuffling personnel around to reconstitute fire companies,” the outlet wrote.

More from the Times:

When the city begins enforcing the vaccine mandate on Monday, unvaccinated municipal employees without a medical or religious exemption will be placed on unpaid leave. It’s unclear how the reduction in the city’s work force will affect services ranging from garbage pickup to ambulance wait times.

By Sunday, some 90 percent of municipal workers had gotten at least one shot, leaving just under 23,000 still unvaccinated.

The city reported Sunday that 84 percent of the N.Y.P.D. had gotten at least one dose of the vaccine, up from 70 percent on Oct. 19. Three quarters of firefighters had gotten their first doses by Sunday, officials said.

As The Daily Wire reported, trash piled up in New York City ahead of the vaccine deadline.

NBC News reported that people have been posting about missed trash collections on social media.

“Missed collections were reported in Staten Island and Brooklyn. And residents have taken to social media in outrage over the accumulating garbage and to raise concern that the slowdown is intentional in protest of the vaccine mandate,” NBC News reported.

The Daily Wire also reported that NYC was struggling to get city workers vaccinated after implementing the mandate. Estimates from Quartz last month indicated that the city could lose up to 30% of its police force following the passage of the vaccine mandate deadline.

“New York City took one of its most aggressive steps yet to increase vaccination rates in a city that was once the epicenter of the pandemic, requiring almost every member of the nation’s largest municipal workforce to get vaccinated by the end of the month or lose their paychecks,” the Times reported last week.

“The new mandate by Mayor Bill de Blasio, following similar requirements for teachers and health care workers that led to a surge in vaccinations, is intended to persuade thousands of city workers who have resisted getting the shot to do so before the winter,” the outlet added.

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