Photo Credit: Wikimedia / Tdorante10
FDNY Ambulance, Utopia Parkway and 75th Avenue, Fresh Meadows, Queens on Feb. 15, 2021

NYC firefighters gathered in force Thursday morning to protest the city’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.


Members of the Uniformed Firefighters Association demonstrated against the mandate outside Gracie Mansion, the official residence of Mayor Bill de Blasio.

All city employees are required to have received at least one shot of COVID-19 by Friday (Oct. 29); failing to do so means they will be suspended without pay and not be allowed to enter the workplace next Monday, November 1.

All FDNY vacations that were to begin on Monday, or later, were canceled. Any firefighter suspended for more than 30 days will be forced to resign, sources told the NY Post.

Some 40 percent of the firefighter force may be out of work – at least temporarily – by next Monday, one firefighter estimated, adding that the reduced numbers could lead to a seven-minute response time.

Such a delay could mean death for some New Yorkers with medical emergencies, and complete destruction of property in the case of a serious fire. During fiscal year 2021, emergency medical response time averaged five minutes and 23 seconds; fire response time averaged at four minutes, 52 seconds.

New York’s Fire Department (FDNY) says up to 20 percent of all the city’s fire companies may need to be closed due to the mandate, and firefighters who have chosen not to vaccinate. The same number of EMS ambulances may be forced out of service as well.

The FDNY employs approximately 10,951 uniformed firefighting employees, 4,274 uniformed EMS employees, and 2,096 civilian employees, according to the NY Fire Department.

As of Wednesday (Oct. 27) just 65 percent of the city’s firefighters, fire officers and EMS personnel had received at least one shot of COVID-19 vaccine, the 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 said in a statement on Wednesday.

“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,” he said. “We will ensure the continuity of operations and safety of all those we have sworn oaths to serve.”

NYPD May Also Lose Personnel
Also on Wednesday, New York Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said in a tweet that 75 percent of the NYPD force was vaccinated.

The New York City Police Department (NYPD) is the largest and one of the oldest municipal police departments in the United States, with approximately 36,000 officers and 19,000 civilian employees, according to

The Police Benevolent Association said on Thursday it would appeal a ruling the day before by Staten Island Supreme Court Justice Lizette Colon, rejecting a PBA petition for a temporary restraining order against the vaccine mandate, the Post reported.

The NYPD Medical Division administered 687 first doses and 45 second doses Wednesday to department personnel at various NYPD vaccination sites, and vaccinations are to be made available in precinct stations over the weekend.


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.