18 fire companies out of service following NYC vaccinate mandate

No firehouses are closed, the mayor said.

November 01, 2021, 11:23 AM

In New York City, where a vaccine mandate for municipal workers is now in effect, 18 fire companies are out of service due to sick calls Monday, but no firehouses are closed and the mayor said there were no immediate disruptions to city services.

Nearly all New York City municipal workers, including police officers, firefighters and EMTs, had until 5 p.m. Friday to get at least one shot or be placed on unpaid leave, starting Monday. While the official deadline was Friday, those who got vaccinated over the weekend will not be placed on leave.

PHOTO: New York City firefighter emergency medical services personnel are vaccinated against COVID-19 at the FDNY Fire Academy in New York, Dec. 23, 2020.
New York City firefighter emergency medical services personnel are vaccinated against COVID-19 at the FDNY Fire Academy in New York, Dec. 23, 2020.
Seth Wenig/AP, FILE
PHOTO: New York City Fire Department union members, municipal workers and others demonstrate during a protest against the city's COVID-19 vaccine mandates in New York City, Oct. 28, 2021.
New York City Fire Department union members, municipal workers and others demonstrate during a protest against the city's COVID-19 vaccine mandates in New York City, Oct. 28, 2021.
Mike Segar/Reuters

FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said he couldn't say how many fire companies were understaffed Monday morning because it "changes by the minute." But Nigro did call on firefighters to stop misusing sick leave and report to work.

"There are understaffed units. That understaffing could end immediately if members stopped going sick when they weren’t sick," Nigro said. "Once the members come to their senses and stop using medical leave improperly, they can help out not just the citizens of the city but their brothers and sisters staffing the units."

Firefighters Association President Andrew Ansbro and FDNY-Fire Officers Association President Jim McCarthy said at a Monday news conference that they tried to negotiate for more time for members to be able to file for exemptions, decide on retirement or get the shot.

New York City Fire Department (FDNY) Uniformed Firefighters Association President Andrew Ansbro and FDNY-Uniformed Fire Officers Association President James McCarthy speak to the press as the COVID-19 vaccine mandate deadline in Manhattan, Oct. 29, 2021.
New York City Fire Department (FDNY) Uniformed Firefighters Association (UFA) President Andrew Ansbro and FDNY-Uniformed Fire Officers Association President James McCarthy attend a news conference as the city's COVID-19 vaccine mandate deadline approaches at Ladder Co. 24 in Manhattan borough of New York City, Oct. 29, 2021.
Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

About 9,000 municipal workers were on leave without pay Monday, representing about 6% of the total city workforce, said Danielle Filson, the mayor’s press secretary.

"Mandates work," Filson said. "That number will continue to decrease. The remaining have pending accommodations/exemption requests. They are working and subject to weekly testing."

Of the municipal departments, the Department of Corrections, which faces a later compliance deadline, currently has the most unvaccinated workers, followed by the FDNY, which has an 80% vaccination rate.

ABC News' Alexandra Faul contributed to this report.

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