EMS union head: ‘We won’t let public down’ regardless of NYC vaccine mandate

Local News

With New York City’s COVID vaccine mandate deadline looming for all city workers, including first responders, there are concerns of a shortage in FDNY personnel come Monday.

With uniformed EMS officers are among the most-vaccinated first responders, at 90%, the head of an EMS officers union told the PIX11 Morning News that New Yorkers likely won’t feel an impact of any potential shortages in that group.

Vincent Variale, president of Uniformed EMS Officers Union FDNY, Local 3621, said he believes most of the remaining holdouts from EMS will get the vaccine Friday or this weekend.

“I think the reduction in services is not going to be as bad as predicted,” Variale said.

The union president said EMS is often understaffed, making a possible shortage on Monday something that’s manageable.

“We have always stepped up when called upon to serve the public, in every crisis situation. We will not let the public down. When people call 911, EMS will be there to save their lives,” Variale vowed.

He assured PIX11 that if there are less ambulances on city streets, it would be a minor reduction in services.

However, the union head is still not a fan of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s widespread mandate for municipal workers.

“We’re people of medicine and science, and we believe in the vaccine,” Variale said. “I just think that this whole mandate process was mishandled and mismanaged by the de Blasio administration,” he added.

Variale believes if the city had worked with the unions in negotiations, there would have been better and faster compliance by EMS officers and other first responders.

“Unfortunately, he resorted to fear and intimidation, rather than leadership,” Variale said of the mayor.

The union leader assured that if one area of the city ends up having a lower amount of EMS or FDNY staffing due to the mandate, personnel and resources will be redeployed to that area to cover the shortage.

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