More than two thousand FDNY firefighters out on medical leave in past week

Coronavirus update for NYC
NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- City Hall reports 91 percent of the entire city's workforce is vaccinated, with an increase in vaccination rates in just the last 24 hours.

As for the FDNY, more than two thousand firefighters have been out on medical leave in the past week. The Firefighters Union says that number could get worse, and force entire firehouses to close.

The FDNY's vaccination rate now stands at 80 percent. 84 percent of the NYPD is vaccinated.

The number is higher among EMTs, paramedics and civilian employees, but lower for firefighters, who led last week's rally of city employees - insisting their object is not to COVID vaccines themselves, but to having them as a condition of their employment.

"Everybody should have a freedom of choice. I've had it - I've got the vaccine myself, personally, but still, it's a freedom of choice for some of these guys," said one firefighter.

The deadline to show vaccine proof was 5 p.m. Friday, with unpaid leave Monday morning for those who had not. Some have gone on sick leave - they will still get paid.

On Friday, FDNY officials said 10 fire companies were shut down because they believed a limited job action was underway and a number of firefighters had called-out sick. This resulted in fire companies being temporarily understaffed and closed.

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There is mounting concern over possible staffing shortages within the city's police, fire and sanitation departments.

"I have had members that have received the vaccination say they are having flu-like symptoms and they've had to go sick. The department is allowing people to have a couple days off after they get the vaccination," said Firefighters Union President Andrew Ansbro.

There is word that of the more than two thousand firefighters who have opted for sick leave, a little more than half have not shown vaccine proof. The Union is likely to be asked about that on Monday morning, when they provide their next update here at a firehouse in Midtown.

The latest statement from FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro says, in part:

"Irresponsible bogus sick leave by some of our members is creating a danger for New Yorkers and their fellow Firefighters."

Nigro insisted no firehouse has closed entirely this weekend - but fire companies, within firehouses have gone out of service temporarily while resources are shifted, so that every area has adequate coverage.

As of Sunday night, 91 percent of the city's municipal workforce is vaccinated. That is a 14 percent increase in ten days.

The test comes in the next few days for the city, as those still holding off are taken off payroll.

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