New York City’s firefighters are not required to get vaccinated, but it is strongly recommended. The head of the Uniformed Firefighters Association (UFA) Andrew Ansbro told “America’s Newsroom” Wednesday that members of the department have already contracted mild cases of the coronavirus and “are not concerned” with receiving the virus, again.
The New York Post reported in early December that an internal survey showed 55% of UFA members answered “No” when asked, “Will you get the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer when the department makes it available?” The paper reported that more than 2,000 of the UFA’s 8,200 active members were surveyed.
A veteran FDNY member expressed frustration to the New York Post and said, “The last thing you want is a family member in dire straits being worked on by an unvaccinated firefighter.” Some members reportedly took to social media and said they do not want to be the “guinea pigs and the test subjects of this vaccine.”
Ansbro argued that the data in the poll is “two weeks old” and when the news of the coronavirus vaccine was first available there was not much information about it. He now expects the members to be more comfortable with getting vaccinated.
The union leader said wearing a mask 24/7 in a firehouse is “not realistic,” but added that members of the department wear the appropriate personal protective equipment when they are out in the field and civilians shouldn’t be worried about contracting the virus from the workers.
Ansbro noted that since the number of coronavirus cases is spiking within the department, members should receive the vaccine before politicians.
“If we’re taken out of commission because we can’t go to work, who will respond to medical calls? I think if people didn’t show up to Congress, it wouldn’t be that much of a problem.”
Ansbro said the virus is spreading in firehouses, and not from patient to firefighter or vice versa.
“We have spikes in several firehouses. We see it moving through the firehouses. That’s really the concern.”
He said it’s a “personal choice” whether the members choose to get the coronavirus vaccine.
“Again, there are members that aren’t going to trust what they’re told,” Ansbro said.
He mentioned the UFA met with a virologist to learn more about the coronavirus vaccine in hopes that the department will obtain additional information before they make the decision to be vaccinated.