COVID-19: NYC firefighters protest vaccine mandate

Hundreds of New York City Fire Department (FDNY) workers were joined by other city workers and residents to protest Mayor Bill de Blasio’s vaccine mandate on Thursday, with people gathering outside Gracie Mansion, the New York City mayor’s official residence.

Last week, de Blasio gave about 50,000 employees of New York City a deadline of 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 29, to submit proof they had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Those who fail to show proof risk being sent home without pay.

The FDNY has about 17,000 employees, including emergency medical services staff, firefighters and civilian employees. About 68 per cent of them have been vaccinated, according to the department. The mandate would also apply to workers including police officers. Based on the current vaccination rate and threat of unpaid leave, the city could see up to 20 per cent of fire units close and fewer ambulances on the road, the department said.

A New York State judge on Wednesday denied a police union request to temporarily block the mandate.

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