De Blasio: FDNY should expect vaccination mandates in coming days

FDNY Fire Commissioner Dan Nigro expressed support for the mandate


Paul Liotta
Staten Island Advance, N.Y.

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — City workers — like cops, firefighters and correction officers — should be on the lookout for new coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine mandates in the coming days, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday.

After city Department of Education (DOE) mandates made it through the legal system, officials are now turning to other agencies, including the NYPD, FDNY and Department of Correction, the mayor said during his morning press briefing.

"Our attention, very much in the last couple of weeks, was won winning those court cases," de Blasio said. "Now, we're going to turn our attention to all the other pieces of the puzzle."

Nothing is official yet, but the mayor said the court system made clear that as employers, the city has a right to impose vaccine mandates on the people who work for it in an effort to keep people safe.

In support of a possible mandate, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea, who appeared at the mayor's morning briefing, said he doesn't want there to be one rule for his agency and another for other parts of city government.

"One thing I didn't want to do is put one policy for the police department and then that's counter to other agencies, so I would be supportive of a vaccine mandate. I've said that from day one," Shea said.

Currently, the NYPD has a vaccination rate of about 68%, and members of the department need to either be vaccinated or prove they've received a negative COVID in the past seven days.

Under the DOE mandate staffers are able to take a year of unpaid leave with health insurance benefits, or leave the DOE with severance.

The mayor was asked several times why the city had yet to put the same vaccine mandate in place for other city agencies, like the NYPD and FDNY. He said that officials are still reviewing the most effective way to put vaccine mandates in place.

"I like our batting average so far," he said. "Everything is about doing it in a particular manner if you want to get the best outcome, so that's what we're examining right now. And, again, when we're ready to say it, when we believe we have something, whatever the approach is, we will."

On Wednesday, Fire Commissioner Dan Nigro also expressed support for a firefighters mandate. He said the vaccination rate in the department is also between 60 and 70%.

"I think it's time. People have had a long time to think about this," he said. "There's still a large portion of our members who have yet to be vaccinated. It will be a decision they'll have to make. I think it will be the right decision."

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(c)2021 Staten Island Advance, N.Y.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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