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As Vaccine Deadline Passes for Public Sector Workers, NYC Braces for More Garbage and Fewer Cops

As Vaccine Deadline Passes for Public Sector Workers, NYC Braces for More Garbage and Fewer Cops

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.

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.

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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.

As of 8 p.m. Thursday, 33,400 city workers remained unvaccinated.

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