More Than 2,000 FDNY Firefighters On Medical Leave Amid Vaccine Sanctions

By Jason Hall

November 1, 2021

New York City workers hold protest rally against COVID-19 vaccine mandate
Photo: Getty Images

More than 2,000 New York City firefighters took medical leave prior to vaccine sanctions being implemented for all public employees on Monday (November 1).

FDNY Deputy Commissioner Frank Dwyer said the number of firefighters on medical leave was "very unusual" for the department -- which employs around 11,000 firefighters throughout New York City's five burroughs -- in an email sent to NBC News.

The high number of medical absences comes as many first responders nationwide have publicly expressed resistance to employers' COVID-19 vaccination mandates, which includes some claiming they'd be willing to lose their job before having what they view as a loss of their sense of freedom.

Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro said in a statement obtained by NBC News that firefighters who participated in the apparent mass medical leave neglected their oaths and "faithfully discharge the duties" of the department, confirming individuals who didn't meet the vaccination requirement would be threatened with unpaid leave beginning on Monday.

"Irresponsible bogus sick leave by some of our members is creating a danger for New Yorkers and their fellow Firefighters," Nigro said. "They need to return to work or risk the consequences of their actions."

Nigro did, however, dispute claims made that the city was understaffed amid the vaccine mandate, confirming "the department has not closed any firehouses."

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