Police officers, firefighters, garbage collectors, and other New York City workers defied a 5 p.m. Friday deadline to show proof they’ve gotten at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Workers who don’t comply will be put on unpaid leave starting Monday.
This means even more issues for a city already buckling under the strain of the pandemic. The public can anticipate firehouse closures, slower ambulance response times, and a lighter police presence on the streets.
Mayor Bill de Blasio held firm on the mandate even as tempers flared on Friday, with six firefighters suspended for taking a fire truck to a lawmaker’s office and threatening his staff over the vaccine mandate. Protestors gathered outside the Mayor’s residence, Gracie Mansion, on Thursday in a show of solidarity against a protocol meant to protect the public servants who in turn serve the public.
— T👻r👻 D🐈⬛bl💀n 🎃🧙🏻♀️ (@taradublinrocks) October 30, 2021
People who refuse to get vaccinated are now a big factor in the continued spread of the virus. Backers of mandates say New Yorkers have a right not to be infected by public servants unwilling to get the shots. Mandates have gotten support in the court systems as well, as on Friday, when a federal appeals panel upheld New York state’s vaccine mandate for health care workers.
At the protest against mandates at Gracie Mansion In NYC the home of Mayor Bill De Blasio. Protester yells at #NYPD Officers who are protecting the gate to get in to the Mansion #NYC #SaturdayThoughts #VaccineMandate pic.twitter.com/xurbOpKBQA
— Leeroy Johnson (@LeeroyPress) October 30, 2021
Nearly one-fifth of city employees covered by the impending city mandate had yet to receive at least one vaccine dose as of Thursday, including 21% of police personnel, 29% of firefighters and EMS workers, and 33% of sanitation workers, according to city data. City jail guards have another month to comply.
John Oliver on cops protesting vaccine mandates: “If an officer wants to quit over this, fucking let them. Let the individuals who clearly don’t care about public safety stop being in charge of public safety. It really is that simple.” https://t.co/etFqguOtGP
— Marlow Stern (@MarlowNYC) October 25, 2021
As of 8 p.m. Thursday, 33,400 city workers remained unvaccinated.