Photo Courtesy of FDNY
“I strongly encourage all of our members to take the COVID-19 vaccine offered through the department to protect themselves, their colleagues, and their loved ones,” said Fire Commissioner Nigro.
By Forum Staff
COVID-19 Vaccinations have begun for members of the City Fire Department, Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro announced last week.
As per the New York State COVID-19 Vaccination Plan, vaccination recipients are prioritized in phases. Phase 1 includes essential healthcare workers including EMS. Phase 2 includes other essential frontline workers including Certified First Responder firefighters.
On Monday, Dec. 21, the FDNY received its first shipment of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and internal online registration opened for FDNY members to schedule an appointment to receive the first of two doses. On Wednesday, Dec. 23, vaccinations began, starting with members of FDNY EMS as per state guidelines. Vaccinations for firefighters began on Tuesday, Dec. 29.
Vaccinations will take place at the following FDNY locations: FDNY Headquarters, Brooklyn; Randall’s Island Training Academy; EMS Academy, Fort Totten, Queens.
The department can vaccinate up to 450 members per day at the three locations combined. Vaccinations are not mandatory, but are strongly encouraged, according to FDNY officials. It is recommended that even those who had COVID-19 and recovered, or those who have antibodies, still receive the vaccine to prevent re-infection.
The following information about the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine has been provided to all FDNY members:
95 percent effective in preventing COVID-19 infection.
Administered in two shots delivered at least 28 days apart.
Uses messenger RNA (mRNA) to deliver instructions to the body that tell it to produce a non-infectious protein associated with the virus. This protein enables the immune system to build up antibodies to fight infection.
DOES NOT change your DNA and you are NOT exposed to the actual virus (live or dead), therefore it cannot cause COVID-19 infection.
Mild side effects reported through testing include mainly pain at the injection site, fatigue and aching muscles/joints for a day or two. In most cases, effects were not debilitating and did not result in missing work.
Since the start of the pandemic, the Department has lost 12 members to COVID-19, including five members of EMS and seven civilians. Due to constant exposure in the course of their duty, medical leave related to COVID-19 peaked in April, with 19 percent of EMS members and 13 percent of firefighters out at one time. More than 5,800 FDNY members have had a COVID-19 diagnosis and the vast majority have recovered and returned to work. At the height of the pandemic in March/April, medical call volume reached unprecedented numbers with the busiest single day coming on March 30 when there were 6,527 medical emergencies across the five boroughs.
“This is a great day for the FDNY. Science has answered the call for help from our department and all essential frontline healthcare workers and produced a vaccine to combat this deadly illness,” Nigro said. “I strongly encourage all of our members to take the COVID-19 vaccine offered through the department to protect themselves, their colleagues, and their loved ones. Through our vaccination process, we will further improve the safety of our members during this pandemic and ensure that the FDNY will continue to protect and care for the city our members bravely serve. Thank you to everyone at the city, state, and federal levels, as well as our own FDNY leadership, who have worked so hard to reach this important milestone in our fight against COVID-19.”