New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio accused police and firefighter unions of lying about staff shortages caused by his COVID-19 vaccine mandate that took effect on Monday as unvaccinated firefighters across the city were sent home and cops rushed to fill out medical and religious exemptions in order to continue working without getting the shot.
More than 9,000 city workers have already opted not to obey de Blasio’s vaccine mandate and will take unpaid leave starting from today – the deadline to get the shot.
It’s unclear how many of those who have already taken unpaid leave are cops, firefighters or EMTs but 5,500 cops remain unvaccinated, along with 2,518 firefighters, 794 EMTs and 1,649 Department of Sanitation workers. Some 2,300 firefighters have called out sick in order to keep their paycheck without declaring that they are unvaccinated.
Seventy-four NYPD workers – 34 cops and 40 civilian employees – have taken unpaid leave. More than 6,500 of the 8,000 unvaccinated NYPD staff are planning to file exemptions with the encouragement of Commissioner Dermot Shea and the unions, to allow them to continue working.
Firefighters in Brooklyn, the Bronx and Staten Island showed up to work on Monday and were sent home because they are unvaccinated. Others chose to retire before the mandate came into effect.
The FDNY will not confirm exactly how many were sent home, but unions shared details of at least nine in Brooklyn, one firefighter in the Lower East Side and one in the Bronx Fire captains said on Monday that they are hopeful tomorrow’s city elections will yield new officials who will quickly reverse the mandates and allow them to ‘get on with their jobs’.