Coronavirus Update NYC: City leaders considering expanding vaccine mandate to cops, firefighters

Coronavirus update for NYC

Josh Einiger Image
Thursday, October 7, 2021
NYC considering expanding vaccine mandate to cops, firefighters
New York City is now considering expanding its vaccine mandate to more city employees like cops and firefighters.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- New York City is now considering expanding its vaccine mandate to more city employees like cops and firefighters.

There was a tense scene in Harlem on Wednesday as a man opened fire on police - and dozens of officers swarmed the block to protect the neighborhood and each other.

But when it comes to protection against COVID-19, the department is lagging. According to the latest numbers from the city, more than three of every 10 cops are not vaccinated.

"I would be supportive of a vaccine mandate," Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said. "I've said that from day one, I think that the science the health the emergency situation that we're in, it makes sense."

Shea sat with the mayor to discuss crime stats and said he's ready to require the vaccine of al 35,000 members of the NYPD.

It's something the mayor said is on the way for every agency, now that the mandate for teachers has beaten back a litany of legal challenges.

"Making sure that our single biggest agency by far, department of education, applied those mandates effectively," Mayor Bill de Blasio said. "We're really happy with that, 95% of department education employees who are now vaccinated, huge deal, making our schools safe making our kids safe. Now we're going to turn our attention to all the other pieces of the puzzle."

For months, most city workers have had an option to be tested weekly for COVID instead of getting the shot.

But with just 68% of cops vaccinated, and even less than that for the fire department, de Blasio suggested his patience is running thin.

It comes on the FDNY's annual Memorial Day to commemorate members lost in the past year - including two who died of COVID.

First responders in both agencies were on the frontlines of the pandemic and many got sick.

Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said New York's Bravest, who don't hesitate to run into burning buildings, should have no qualms about getting the shot.

"I think it's time people have had a long time to think about this, for our members to be mandated," Nigro said. "We're out there treating the public, their families deserve it, they deserve it and the public deserves it."

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