NEW YORK - The FDNY has begun coronavirus vaccinations for some of its members.
City EMTs and paramedics are among the first members of the department to receive the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, with firefighters beginning next week.
"I took the vaccine today," said Mary Merced, an executive officer who's been with the department for 27 years. "I feel perfectly fine. I'm not dizzy, my arm doesn't hurt, which is great."
"I just hope I have a positive outlook on the whole thing and I'm sure it's going to be a positive outcome to all of us," she added.
The vaccine comes a day after the FDNY lost its 12th member to the coronavirus. Emergency Medical Technician Evelyn Ford, 58, died Tuesday, the city announced. She was a 27-year veteran of the department.
Since the pandemic hit the city, some 6,000 members of the FDNY have contracted the coronavirus. More than 600 are currently out on medical leave with the illness, according to the department.
"The fact that it's such high numbers relates to our members constantly over the past nine months servicing sick individuals around our city and putting themselves at risk," FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said at a briefing with Mayor Bill de Blasio. "They're also catching it from their co-workers, none of whom have the luxury of working from home. And they're getting it in their daily contact like others."
The mayor said the plan is to vaccinate 450 FDNY members a day at three locations.
There has, however, been reluctance within the department to get the shot.
Earlier this month, a union survey found that more that half of firefighters said they didn't plan on getting vaccinated.
Uniformed Firefighters Association President Andy Ansbro told NY1 Friday that firefighters he has talked to informally are realizing the vaccine is safe and that the protection will make their jobs easier.
"We've actually realized that we're spreading this in the firehouse. It's not actually being spread through patient to firefighter or vice versa. We work together in 24 hour shifts and when you see us riding around in those rigs going to and from a call for a fire we actually have to take our masks off to put on our SCBA breathing protection. So you're in close quarters sitting face to face with someone else, spread is really hard to contain in those situations," Ansbro said during an interview on "Mornings on 1."