WASHINGTON HEIGHTS, Manhattan — Thousands of city municipal workers remained unvaccinated Saturday, a day after Friday’s vaccinate mandate deadline. Those who remain unvaccinated will be put on unpaid leave starting Monday.
Saturday evening, though, the mayor said 91% of city-employed workers had gotten the jab.
But while the numbers have slowly gone up, some New Yorkers were concerned the city won’t be adequately protected Monday.
“This firehouse has lost so many firefighters just overnight, that they’re worried about being able to handle the amount of emergencies in our neighborhood,” Dyker Heights resident Michael Bistreich told PIX11 News while standing outside Engine 284 Ladder 149 in Brooklyn.
Neighbors joined him in supporting unvaccinated first responders.
The FDNY said it continued to respond to all calls, but firefighter sick-outs have led to some companies temporarily going out of service.
In a tweet Saturday, Rep. Nicole Malliotakis said 26 firehouses across the city were closed. But when asked about those claims, an FDNY spokesperson said there were no such closures.
“We do not have 26 closed firehouses,” the official said. “We have units that are temporarily out of service.”
Malliotakis, who represents Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn, said the statistics were provided to her by the Uniformed Firefighters Association. PIX11 News reached out the UFA for comment but has yet to hear back.
The latest vaccination numbers from New York showed that as of 8 p.m. Friday, 84% of civilian and uniform NYPD employees had gotten vaccinated. The entire FDNY, that’s firefighters and EMS, stood at 77%.
The Department of Sanitation also was at 77% and 66% of NYCHA workers were vaccinated.
Xavier Jimenez of Harlem said he understood the reluctance.
“I wasn’t planning to take it, but because of the mandate I had to take it. It was that or my job,” he said. Jimenez works in a school. He said he needs to feed his family, so he got the shot.
A mobile vaccination clinic was set up in Washington Heights around the corner from a firehouse Saturday.
New Yorkers lined up to get vaccinated, although it wasn’t clear if any first responders showed up.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Friday that staffing levels will be adequate this coming week to protect New Yorkers. Police Commissioner Dermot Shea also reminded people why the city is doing this.
“We want to keep people safe,” he said.
The Department of Correction reported a 54% vaccination rate, but the city is giving DOC employees an extra month, due to staffing numbers and other issues in the department.