New York firefighters march against Covid vaccine mandate

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New York (AFP)

Several thousand city workers, most of them firefighters, crossed the Brooklyn Bridge to Manhattan City Hall, carrying signs that read “Do we ask for your immunization status when you call 911?” And “Essential yesterday, unemployed today.”

Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio announced last week that all public employees, including police and firefighters, will need to be vaccinated by November 1 or they will be put on unpaid leave until they can provide proof of a shot.

They will not have the option of providing a negative test instead, but medical and religious exemptions will be allowed.

According to statistics from the FDNY, only 60 percent of the estimated 17,000 firefighters have been shot, far below the 84 percent of all adults in New York.

“I’m not against the vaccine,” said John, a 35-year-old firefighter.

“I’m just against warrants. I think warrants are a violation of freedom,” he told AFP. “I would never want anyone to feel pressured into giving me their health information.”

As an incentive, New York City employees will receive an additional $ 500 on their paychecks if they get vaccinated before October 29.

Adriane Williams, who worked in the New York City Fire Department for 19 years, said she had to make “a choice between my life and my career.”

New York officials opposed to the city’s vaccination mandate cross the Brooklyn Bridge in a protest on October 25, 2021 Ed JONES AFP

“I have to choose my life,” said the 43-year-old. “But I love my career and I shouldn’t have to make that choice,” she added.

Firefighters, wearing T-shirts bearing their station numbers and the names of colleagues who died in the 9/11 attacks, chanted “My Body, My Choice” and pro-Donald Trump slogans while waving American flags.

A sign read “Vaccinated by the Holy Spirit”, while in the middle of the procession a man dressed as Jesus carried a cross.

Also on Monday, the Police Benevolent Association, New York’s largest union representing police officers, filed a lawsuit challenging the warrant.


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