Mayor Bill de Blasio Admits There Is No Real Plan to Address Potential First Responder Shortages over Vaccine Mandate

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks to the media during a press conference at City Hall on January 3, 2020 in New York City. The NYPD will take actions to protect the city and residents against any possible retaliation after the deadly US airstrike in Iraq, Mayor Bill de …
Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) on Wednesday admitted the city has no real plan to address potential first responder shortages due to the city’s vaccine mandate, which goes into full effect Friday afternoon.

Last week, de Blasio announced the final stretch of vaccine mandates for the remainder of city workers, including first responders. They all must show proof of at least one vaccination by Friday, October 29 at 5 p.m. Those who fail to comply will be placed on unpaid leave.

The Democrat mayor told reporters on Wednesday it was “too early to tell” if vaccine numbers were rising significantly because of this mandate.

NYPD beside a flag

New York Police Department (TIMOTHY CLARY/GETTY IMAGES)

“We’re seeing movement but I think it’s too early to tell honestly because the numbers we have now are only through yesterday. What I expect is a surge of activity particularly on Friday,” he said, explaining that such would be a similar pattern seen in the past with the mandate on healthcare workers and education staff.

“I don’t think we’re at that point yet. I think we’re going to see a lot more in the next few days,” he added.

When asked about the city’s contingency plan to address potential staff shortages, de Blasio admitted there is no plan.

“I don’t think it’s so much …. about substitutes,” he said, explaining that it is more about “overtime” and “shifting assignments to where there is particular need.”

The Democrat mayor contended that the agencies were able to navigate their way through the pandemic, even with “huge numbers” of members out due to the virus. Therefore, he believes they will be able to deal with the potential shortages in this scenario as well.

He said:

Our, remember, our first responder agencies, our uniformed agencies, went through so much last year where they had huge numbers of members out because of COVID and they had to keep making constant adjustments to provide the services we need to keep people safe, and they did it and they did it very well.

“These are very agile organizations used to dealing with crisis. Used to dealing with natural disasters. They know plenty about how to make the right moves to keep everything going,” he said, essentially admitting there is no plan.

When asked for more specifics on potential NYPD staffing shortages and projected overtime costs for offices out for not complying with the mandate, de Blasio said they are not looking at this from a budgetary point of view.

“Obviously, look, I’d like everyone who’s not yet vaccinated to get vaccinated by the end of Friday. If they don’t, they’re going off payroll,” he said.

“I don’t want that savings, but that does create a savings. And if we have to give overtime and make other adjustments, there will obviously be resources to account for that,” he continued, claiming that commissioners are “confident” they can make the adjustments.

“Every one of the commissioners has adamantly wanted us to move forward with vaccine mandates, so I feel ready,” he added.


The mayor’s remarks come after Monday’s massive demonstration, which saw thousands of workers marching over the Brooklyn Bridge in protest of the city’s vaccine mandates. Protesters could be heard shouting, “Hold the Line,” “Fuck Joe Biden,” and “Fuck de Blasio”:


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