NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- New York City firefighters began receiving COVID-19 vaccinations Tuesday, but some confusion remains over when doses will be made available to NYPD officers.
The availability comes a few days after the department starting vaccinating EMTs and paramedics using the Moderna vaccine.
Earlier this month, a survey showed more than half of firefighters were reluctant to even take it, so the department issued a memo in an effort to instill confidence in the shot.
The FDNY employs nearly 11,000 firefighters, one of the largest fire departments in the world.
"I have every confidence that this vaccine will keep New York City firefighters healthy and safe in the course of their duties," the FDNY firefighters said in a statement. "The vaccine's arrival and distribution is the turning point in the war on COVID-19, and this is pivotal to getting society reopened. We applaud the New York State health officials who have prioritized Firefighters, as our safety is of vital importance to this City."
But while firefighters will get access, police officers will have to wait. It's unclear exactly why, but Detectives Endowment Association President Paul DiGiacomo told the Daily News it's because the department has not yet received enough doses from the state.
However, Governor Andrew Cuomo said New York is leading the nation in vaccine access.
"140,000 New Yorkers have already received one vaccine," Cuomo said. "That would put New York at the top of the national chart on number of vaccines that have actually been given to people."
Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city wants "to continue to build out the vaccination effort rapidly."
"This is something we do based on the state guidelines, we are in constant communication with the state about it," de Blasio said. "I think the more we can build out these priorities, the better. The first priority is frontline health care workers and folks in nursing homes, people who work in nursing homes. I want us to get to our first responders as soon as possible. We are waiting for that state guidance to be clarified, and as soon as it is, we will get that effort underway."
PBA President Patrick J. Lynch released a statement on the vaccine rollout delay for the NYPD.
"Once again, politicians in Albany and City Hall are wasting time with bureaucratic gymnastics instead of looking at the reality on the ground," Lynch said. "New York City police officers aren't just on the front line. We cover every part of the front line: from hospitals and housing complexes to the corner store. We have more daily contact with New Yorkers than any other city agency. We are continuing to press for vaccines to be made available to police officers as soon as possible."
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