NY police unions criticize COVID vaccine delays for cops

Mayor de Blasio said the city health department was “waiting for state guidance to be clarified” before it could distribute doses to police


By Rocco Parascandola, Shant Shahrigian and John Annese
New York Daily News

NEW YORK — Police union officials Tuesday lashed out at a delay in the administration of the coronavirus vaccine to NYPD officers due to supply problems even as firefighters were beginning to receive their innoculations.

NYPD members were expecting to get the Moderna vaccine as early as Tuesday, but learned of the delay Monday night.

Mayor de Blasio said the city health department was “waiting for ... state guidance to be clarified” before it could distribute doses to police.

“Right now, of course, the first focus has been on frontline health care workers and on folks in nursing homes and who work in nursing homes, and that’s the right priority,” de Blasio said. ”But I want to see us get to our first responders as quickly as possible. So, we’re waiting for that State guidance to be clarified.”

Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch called that explanation “bureaucratic gymnastics.”

“We cover every part of the front line: from hospitals and housing complexes to the corner store. We have more daily contact with New Yorkers than any other city agency,” he said.

”We are continuing to press for vaccines to be made available to police officers as soon as possible.”

Paul DiGiacomo, who heads the Detectives’ Endowment Association, was more blunt Tuesday.

“As we work through the pandemic, elected officials continue their anti-police campaigns, and cannot muster the political courage to do what is right for the police,” he said.

State health officials, however, said police officers were still on track to get their shots as part of “phase 1b” of the vaccine rollout.

“Any suggestion that we are holding back on providing vaccines is patently false. We are still in the middle of phase 1a, which includes frontline health care workers, nursing homes and certain congregate care settings,” state health department spokesman Gary Holmes said. “Timing depends on when the vaccine supply is available and we look forward to working with NYPD and all first responders in operationalizing distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.”

(c)2020 New York Daily News

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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