New York’s governor and New York City’s mayor have been two of the most ardent proponents of everything that is preventative when it comes to COVID. But now comes the confounding news that New York City paramedics and firefighters will not be required to vaccinate for the virus.
New York City paramedics and firefighters will be among those first chosen to receive the new COVID vaccine now that it is available. The vaccine should be available to the first responders by mid-December
But they will not be required to take it. If you are a paramedic or a firefighter in New York City you will not be required to be vaccinated against the COVID virus.
The FDNY issued an internal memo Friday to its members, including all Emergency Medical Service workers, that it would soon provide the newly approved vaccine to first responders, but that memo included an opt-out caveat.
“Vaccination will not be mandatory, but the Department recommends that members consider the overall benefits,” Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro and Chief of Department John Sudnik wrote in the order.
— NYC EMS Watch (@NYCEMSwatch) November 27, 2020
“There is currently no legal requirement for anyone to take a COVID-19 vaccine,” FDNY spokesman Frank Dwyer said.
The presidents of the two FDNY unions agreed with the voluntary status of vaccinations, saying they did not apply pressure on the department to make it policy.
“Members should take the opportunity to get the vaccine if it makes them feel safer, but it should be an individual choice,” said Oren Barzilay, president of Local 2507, Uniformed EMTs, Paramedics, and Inspectors.
Many question why first responders, who are most likely to encounter COVID infected people during the daily course of their jobs, wouldn’t be mandated to vaccinate against the virus. Currently, paramedics and EMS personnel are vaccinated for a number of diseases including Hepatitis.
The FDNY edict could set the stage for the city’s schools, with teachers also being given a choice of whether to vaccinate voluntarily.