One in six New York City public employees, which include those working within law enforcement and the fire department, have yet to receive the first dose of a Covid vaccine after the deadline for adhering to the city’s vaccination mandate closed yesterday. Those still unvaccinated will be put on unpaid leave starting from tomorrow, with the city expecting a shortage of workers to place a strain on public services. The Guardian has the story.
Despite opposition to the city’s vaccine mandate fuelled by right wing politicians and media and leading to a protest at City Hall this week, a last-minute rush of jabs boosted the vaccination rate to 83% among police officers, firefighters, garbage collectors and other city workers covered by the mandate as of 8pm on Friday.
That was up from 76% a day earlier.
Workers who have not complied with the requirement will be put on unpaid leave starting on Monday, leaving the city bracing for the possibility of closed firehouses, fewer police and ambulances and mounting trash.
Vaccination rates for the fire and sanitation departments jumped significantly on Friday as workers rushed to meet the deadline for the mandate and an extra incentive: workers who got a shot by Friday would get $500.
The fire department rate rose 8% and the sanitation department saw an additional 10% of its staff vaccinated, according to city data. The fire and sanitation departments each have 23% of staff unvaccinated.
The NYPD had a 5% jump in vaccinations on Friday, leaving 16% of police personnel yet to get a dose.
City officials have been weighing contingencies to deal with an expected staffing shortfall.
The Fire Department said it was prepared to close up to 20% of its companies and have 20% fewer ambulances in service while changing schedules, cancelling vacations and turning to outside EMS providers to make up for expected staffing shortages.
Worth reading in full.