Thousands in FDNY reject COVID-19 vaccine — while NYPD waits for shots
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Nearly two-thirds of FDNY firefighters and paramedics have refused, or not signed up for, the COVID-19 vaccine, The Post has learned.
The department began vaccinating personnel more than two weeks ago.
While cops and other frontline workers are still waiting for access to the coveted shots, thousands of Bravest have already rejected the jab.
About 4,700, or 30 percent of FDNY personnel, have declined the department’s vaccine registration request, a spokesman said Friday. An additional 33 percent have yet to respond at all.
Uniformed FDNY members, because they are considered medical responders, were in the 1A group of public employees granted first access to the vaccine. EMS members began getting shots on Dec. 23, and firefighters began on Dec. 29.
The department says it has the ability to inject up to 450 personnel each day with the initial doses it received from drug maker Moderna, but stats show volume is below capacity.
So far, 1,300 or about 30 percent of the FDNY’s 4,400 EMS staffers, have received the first round of the vaccine, and 3,100 fire employees, about 27 percent of all 11,500 personnel, have gotten the shot, a department spokesman said Friday.
Many who are are opting to sit out the vaccine for now believe they are immune to COVID-19 or simply aren’t afraid of the virus after beating it or watching colleagues recover, said Andy Ansbro, president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association, which represents 8,200 FDNY firefighters.
“We will always have members who aren’t comfortable or don’t feel it’s necessary, and with the amount of members who have already been sick and could have antibodies, some of those members are going to wait and just aren’t going to get it in the immediate future,” Ansbro said.
Widespread initial refusal among firefighters was anticipated. A survey taken by the UFA in the weeks before vaccination efforts began found 55 percent of FDNY members said they would not receive it.
A department spokesman put a positive spin on the response rate.
“We are pleased with the response so far. We feel that as more members get vaccinated and more information is shared, our numbers will continue to increase in terms of sign up,” FDNY spokesman Jim Long said. “We continue to do outreach and education, and we’re seeing and hope to continue to see an increase in acceptance.”
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