Protests in New York: firefighters against corona vaccination mandate

Status: 10/30/2021 1:16 a.m.

New York’s mayor has set a deadline for firefighters and police officers: they must be vaccinated against Corona by Monday, otherwise they will be on leave. Hundreds of vaccinators are now warning of chaos in the city.

By Antje Passenheim, ARD-Studio New York

It’s burning. In front of the residence of New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, hundreds of demonstrating firefighters go into the decisive battle. “We’ll pull this off,” says one of them. “People are going to die and it won’t be our fault. It’s the mayor’s fault.” Mayor Bill de Blasio has set them a deadline of Monday: Corona vaccination or unpaid compulsory leave.

Antje Passenheim
ARD-Studio New York

Fire Brigade Association chief Andrew Ansbro conjures up bad things: “We are concerned that the fire stations remain empty and that the waiting times are longer in an emergency. And that is a matter of life and death.” He warns: If all vaccinators stayed at home, almost a quarter of the guards in the largest city in the United States could shut down. It does not only get tight when there is a fire: ambulances would not come at all or come later. Anyone stuck in the elevator can wait a long time for help.

A good third of the emergency services in New York are not vaccinated: a total of 3,500 firefighters refuse. “Because we are supposed to be forced to inject a substance into our bodies,” says one protester. It is not the vaccination, it is the pressure that makes them angry. “He puts the gun to our head,” says the protester of De Blasio. “And if we don’t give in, we’ll lose our job.”

New York Fire Department chief Andrew Ansbro: “It’s a matter of life and death.”


“You could think about it long enough”

But the chief of the fire brigade thinks differently. Commissioner Daniel Nigro is behind the vaccination mandate: It is time for everyone to be vaccinated out of solidarity and for their own protection. “People could think about it long enough,” he says. “You always get to meet people out there. Your families deserve it. You deserve it yourself.”

Nigro gets help from Police Chief Dermot Shea. Because the vaccination period also applies to the police, and there are also threats from their ranks. If the anti-vaccinators are sent home, the New Yorkers will miss the cops on their streets, it is said. A local newspaper is already conjuring up the “Vax Armageddon” – the vaccine Armageddon with which the metropolis is threatened with extinction. It could also sink into the garbage, because in protest against the vaccination mandate for the city employees, waste disposal companies are already leaving bags on the sidewalks.

Almost 70 percent of New Yorkers vaccinated

Mayor de Blasio stays cool: “We all grew up being vaccinated,” he says. “And nobody thought about it.” In his city, almost 70 percent of the people are already completely vaccinated against Covid-19. This time, many New Yorkers have no sympathy for the firefighters who are revered as heroes here after the attacks of September 11, 2001. But the mayor is certain: if the wages are missing, people go to vaccinate.

Teachers and hospital staff have already shown this. Your vaccination deadline expired weeks ago. There were protests, there were threats. But the feared failures did not occur. Most New Yorkers therefore remain calm this time too. However, it could soon be exciting: As of December 1st, the vaccination mandate applies to the prison guards employed by the city.

Empty fire stations, no cops – New York employees protest against vaccination mandate

Antje Passenheim, ARD New York, October 30, 2021 12:11 am

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