A last-minute rush of vaccinations sharply reduced the number of New York City emergency responders who had failed to meet the city’s coronavirus vaccination requirements as they began to be enforced on Monday, officials said.
The vaccination rate for all city employees, including police and firefighters, rose to 91% from 86% at the end of last week, Mayor Bill de Blasio said over the weekend. Twitter.
On October 20, de Blasio ordered the city’s 50,000 uniformed service workers, including emergency medical and sanitation workers, to have received at least one dose of a vaccine against the disease. coronavirus before the end of Friday afternoon.
The execution of the mandate in the city of 8.8 million people was due to start on Monday. De Blasio said employees reporting to work who had not been vaccinated would not be paid.
Union officials said last week that at least a third of firefighters and police were unvaccinated and predicted worker shortages as a result. The warrant ruled out an alternative COVID-19 test that they said worked well.
In a pre-dawn briefing, Uniformed Firefighters Association president Andrew Ansbro predicted that dozens of fire companies would be forced to close, and urged the city to give its members more time to comply, NY1 TV reported.
But Ansbro added: “This is not a city in crisis.”
De Blasio, a Democrat who predicted a last-minute vaccination wave, said 2,300 workers were immunized on Saturday alone.
âMore than half of the workers who have not yet been vaccinated have submitted exemption requests and those requests are being processed,â he said on Twitter on Sunday.
Workers with pending exemption requests will continue to be paid, officials said.
On Sunday, the mayor’s office said the immunization rate for emergency medical service workers jumped to 87% from 74% on Thursday. The New York Fire Department announced Friday night that its rate had jumped to 77% from 64% a day earlier.
The most recent vaccination rate for the New York City Police Department, which de Blasio estimated at 74% on Thursday, was not immediately available.
The dispute is the latest in the United States over vaccination mandates that have been increasingly imposed by political leaders, including President Joe Biden, to help stem the spread of the highly contagious delta variant. Chicago and Los Angeles police and firefighters have also backed down sharply.
New York City Police and Fire Unions challenged the warrant in court. But the New York City Police Benevolent Association said courts last week dismissed its requests for an emergency order to suspend the warrant.
– From Reuters and The Associated Press, latest update 11 a.m.ET
What is happening in Canada
What is happening in the world
As of Monday morning, more than 246.8 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins University online coronavirus database. The death toll worldwide was over five million.
In the Asia-Pacific region, Cambodia began immunizing five-year-old children against the coronavirus on Monday as its leader announced the start of the country’s reopening, including the gradual re-entry of foreign tourists. Immunizations for two million children between the ages of 6 and 11 began on September 17 and are nearing completion.
In the Middle East, Israel began welcoming individual tourists on Monday for the first time since the start of the pandemic. It had planned to reopen to tourists last spring, but delayed the move amid a spike in cases driven by the delta variant. Israel has since launched a recall campaign in which nearly half of the population received a third dose of the vaccine.
In Europe, the Ukrainian capital of Kiev put in place new strict restrictions on Monday in an attempt to stem an upsurge in COVID-19 infections that are affecting many countries in Eastern Europe amid low vaccination rates.
From Monday, residents of Kiev will be required to show vaccination certificates or proof of a negative COVID-19 test to use restaurants, cafes, gyms, entertainment venues and shopping malls. The personnel working in these places must have been vaccinated. City officials said task forces would monitor compliance with restrictions on public transport.
In Africa, protests erupted in cities across Morocco on Sunday over a coronavirus vaccine passport required to access indoor activities and travel. Proof of vaccination is mandatory since October 21 for all Moroccans to enter their workplace and restaurants and for national and international air travel.
In the Americas, Mexico’s health ministry said it has received nearly six million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19 as pressure increases on the government to expand its vaccination rollout to include children.
– From The Associated Press and Reuters, latest update 8:30 a.m. ET