By THOMAS TRACY and JOHN ANNESE
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS |DEC 17, 2020
City EMTs and paramedics can get COVID-19 vaccines starting next week — and firefighters will be able to get their shots the following weeks, according to an FDNY memo obtained by the Daily News.
EMS members will be able to receive the Moderna COVID vaccine starting Dec. 23, while firefighters, who are considered essential frontline workers but not essential health care workers, can start receiving it on Dec. 29, says the memo issued to FDNY employees.
The FDNY is not requiring frontline employees to take the vaccine, but is strongly recommending it.
“All members are strongly encouraged to take the vaccine to protect themselves, their colleagues, their families and the public,” the memo reads. “Even if you have had COVID-19, or have the antibodies, the vaccine is recommended to prevent reinfection.”
The FDNY expects to vaccinate 450 of its members a day at three locations.
“We are pleased to see they recognize the importance of EMTs and paramedics receiving this vaccine first,” said EMS union head Oren Barzilay said. “We had four EMTs die from this insidious disease.”
Barzilay, who expects about half of his members to seek the vaccine, said many of his members are worried about what would happen to those who have adverse reactions to it.
“We implore the city to make a decision on whether our men and women will be covered should they have an adverse reaction to the vaccine,” he said. Workers want to be reassured they won’t be home sick without pay, he explained.
A survey of 2,000 members of the United Firefighters Association showed about 45% of the city’s firefighters would get vaccinated. But attitudes may have changed, said Andrew Ansbro, the union’s president. “Two weeks ago, very little was known about it,” Ansbrow.
Ansbro said he plans to get the vaccine. “This is a personal health choice. I’ll recommend it,” he said. “I also recommend they get all the education they can.”