As many as 20% of the New York City Fire Department companies are at risk of being closed due to vaccine hesitancy amid a New York City mandate, taking ambulances off the streets and leaving one New York firefighter to predict, "People will die in this city."
Just 65% of the FDNY has been vaccinated to date before Monday's Nov. 1 deadline, the New York Post reported.
"The department must manage the unfortunate fact that a portion of our workforce has refused to comply with a vaccine mandate for all city employees," Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro wrote in a statement.
He wrote: "We will use all means at our disposal, including mandatory overtime, mutual aid from other EMS providers and significant changes to the schedules of our members. We will ensure the continuity of operations and safety of all those we have sworn oaths to serve."
FDNY staff have until Monday to get at least one dose of the vaccine or face suspension without pay. Mayor Bill de Blasio offered a $500 bonus for being vaccinated before Friday at 5 p.m. ET.
The suspension without pay might "take about 40% of us out" and delay FDNY response times for ambulance and fire to about "seven minutes or more," an FDNY member told the Post.
The emergency response time average for the past fiscal year was five minutes and 23 seconds, and four minutes, 52 seconds for structure fires.
"With a heart attack, seven or eight minutes makes a big difference," the source told the Post. "And fires, an eight-minute difference is one bedroom or the whole house. Or in row houses, an eight-minute difference is one house or the whole block.
"This is no joke."
The NYPD has better vaccination numbers, as NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea tweeted 75% of employees have been vaccinated. But that is just 63% of street cops, leaving around 6,000 officers potentially left with their jobs at risk, according to the report.
"It's an easy formula: Less cops equal more crime," a source told the Post.
The first wave of the pandemic left about 20% of the NYPD out of work, but that is about half of the 37% who have yet to comply with the vaccine mandate.
"That was very rough, and now the numbers are higher," the source added. "I don't know how they're going to pull this off."
Staten Island Supreme Court Justice Lizette Colon turned down the Police Benevolent Association request for a temporary restraining order against the vaccine mandate, but the city's largest police union planned to appeal.
For those that do comply, the news is not all great either.
"They're forcing us to work overtime," a firefighter told the Post. "That means we’ll lose another 10 percent who get injured or sick from 80-hour work weeks."
After 30 days of unpaid suspension, FDNY members will be forced to resign, according to the report.
To address a late rush for vaccinations before the deadline, NYPD will be vaccinating at precincts this weekend, sources told the Post.
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