At least 10,300 city workers thumbed their noses at Mayor Bill de Blasio’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate deadline Monday — refusing to get a jab even as Hizzoner says the requirement is crucial to keeping residents safe.
The balking workers include at least 1,300 FDNY staffers — leaving 18 fire and ladder companies “temporarily out of service” and dozens more undermanned — even as Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro insisted the department was functioning “quite well.”
About 3,500 city workers rushed to get vaccinated over the weekend ahead of Monday’s deadline, according to de Blasio.
After 5 p.m. Friday, 3,564 city workers received at least one dose of the vaccine — making them part of the surge of 22,472 municipal employees who’ve received a shot since the requirement was announced Oct. 20, the mayor said Monday.
The most recently released city data shows that 91 percent of city workers have gotten at least one jab.
That leaves about 22,800 unvaccinated city workers. About 10,300, or roughly 45 percent, of that group are on leave without pay, while 12,000, or a little over half, have applied for an exemption based on medical or religious reasons and are still allowed to work while waiting for a decision on their cases.
The 10,300 on leave without pay are nearly 3 percent of the Big Apple’s 378,000-member workforce.
“We said we would climb the ladder of vaccination mandates,” de Blasio said from City Hall during a virtual press briefing. “Time and time again, we’ve put the mandates in place, and they’ve worked.”
“This mandate was the right thing to do, and the proof is in the pudding.”
Eighty-four percent of the NYPD, 77 percent of city firefighters, 88 percent of medics and 83 percent of sanitation workers have gotten at least one dose, the mayor noted.
“City workers are doing the right thing,” he said. “I want to thank everyone who got vaccinated.”
Despite a firefighter union head warning early Monday of potentially dozens of shuttered fire companies and slower response times, de Blasio claimed hours later, “Firehouses are open, no firehouses close, [and] response times [are] normal.”
Out of 350 FDNY units, 18 are “out of service” at the moment, although zero firehouses are “closed,” according to the department head.
“The department is functioning quite well,” Nigro said during the press conference.
He conceded that there are “understaffed” teams, ascribing blame to “hundreds” of smoke eaters staying home, falsely claiming they are sick.
“There are understaffed units,” said Nigro. “That understaffing could end immediately if members stopped going sick when they weren’t sick.”
He declared that short staffing would end “once the members come to their senses and stop using medical leave improperly.”
Additional reporting by Craig McCarthy