New York City’s bravest begin receiving COVID-19 vaccinations at Fort Totten’s EMS Academy

File photo: REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Several weeks after their union announced that about half of New York City firefighters did not want the COVID-19 vaccine, the FDNY commissioner announced on Wednesday the beginning of vaccinations for the city’s bravest.

“This is a great day for the FDNY. Science has answered the call for help from our department and all essential frontline healthcare workers and produced a vaccine to combat this deadly illness,” said Commissioner Daniel Nigro. “I strongly encourage all of our members to take the COVID-19 vaccine offered through the department to protect themselves, their colleagues and their loved ones. Through our vaccination process, we will further improve the safety of our members during this pandemic and ensure that the FDNY will continue to protect and care for the city our members bravely serve.”

Firefighters, as outlined in the state’s vaccination plan, are included in the second phase of inoculation, behind only essential healthcare workers, and alongside other essential frontline workers.

Members of the FDNY will be given the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, which the department received on Monday, Dec. 21. On Wednesday, FDNY EMS personnel began to receive the vaccine and on Tuesday, Dec. 29, the vaccinations will open up to firefighters.

In Queens, the vaccine is being administered to FDNY members at the EMS Academy in Fort Totten. The vaccine is also being given at FDNY Headquarters in Brooklyn and on the Randall’s Island Training Academy.

The department, which lost 12 members to COVID-19, including five members of EMS and seven civilians, said that it could vaccinate up to 450 members a day.

While the vaccine is not mandated, the department’s leadership has encouraged its members to be inoculated.

Earlier this month, Andrew Ansbro, the president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association, announced that an internal survey found that around 55 percent of the firefighters surveyed said they wouldn’t take the vaccine. Though more than 5,800 FDNY members tested positive for COVID-19 in the past nine months, it’s recommended that those who have antibodies still receive the vaccine to prevent reinfection.