Around half of New York City‘s firefighters are not inclined to take a coronavirus vaccine when it becomes available, the head of the Uniformed Firefighters Association (UFA) told “Your World” Monday.
Over the weekend, the New York Post reported that an internal survey showed that 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.
“We felt that the data was actually pretty on target,” UFA President Andy Ansbro told host Neil Cavuto.
“With our numbers being roughly 45% to 55%, that’s probably indicative of the general population,” he added. “It is a privilege to be at the front of the line for this vaccination, but it’s not an obligation for my members to get it.”
The Food and Drug Administration is expected to approve an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer vaccine later this week, with approval for another vaccine candidate from Moderna set to follow later this month. The vaccines are expected to be distributed first to health care workers, the elderly and other medically vulnerable people.
Ansbro told his members that the most important thing his members are properly informed about the vaccine, including its risks and benefits.
“I expect them to make a decision on what is best for their family,” he said. “I’m going to get it myself. I will stand behind whatever decision they make.”
Ansbro said firefighters and other first responders have been hard-hit by the pandemic, and appreciate the opportunity to be near the front of the line for a vaccine.
About 35% of UFA members have been exposed to the virus, he noted, adding that many firefighters are young and otherwise healthy individuals who are less susceptible to serious complications or death.
“[Members] would probably rather see somebody in a risk category get a vaccine …” Ansbro said. “As far as members being anti-vaxxers, I’ve been told that one. I don’t see that, but again, there are a lot of people that don’t want to be at the front of the line for vaccines.”