Gov. Cuomo shuts down Mayor de Blasio’s plan to roll out vaccine to NYPD officers

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NEW YORK CITY, NY – It appears that the officers of the NYPD are caught in the middle of a political strife between Mayor Bill de Blasio’s aspirations to have the pandemic vaccine administered to law enforcement, while Governor Andrew Cuomo says that police need to placed lower on the prioritization list

It was roughly one hour after Mayor de Blasio announced his intentions to see the COVID-19 vaccine rolled out to police that Governor Cuomo put the breaks on the endeavor.

Instead, Governor Cuomo believes that mainly health care workers and patients in nursing homes should be placed in front of the proverbial line for the vaccine, citing the current limited number of doses available. 

When Mayor de Blasio had initially announced his intentions to see New York’s Finest be afforded the vaccine in an expedient manner – hoping to see at least 10,000 shots administered by January 10th – police unions were, in rare form, elated with the mayor. 

But, that elation was short-lived after Governor Cuomo took the proverbial wheel and changed course. 

Paul DiGiacomo, president of the Detectives’ Endowment Association, was among those disheartened by Governor Cuomo’s redirection of vaccine distribution: 

“Why the governor doesn’t find us important enough to get the vaccination is beyond my belief.”

When Mayor de Blasio was delivering his daily coronavirus briefing on January 6th, he wanted to relay that the city was going to work to ensure that police officers – whose work compels them to be in close proximity with the public – had expedient access to the vaccine. 

As early as December 23rd, fire department EMTs and the likes of hospital workers were started to get vaccinated as they were listed as being the top priority for the state. 

But, in a reasonable argument lodged by police, officers cited that they should fall in line with that top-tier designation as they often respond to medical emergencies and also wind up interviewing many crime victims at hospitals. 

However, according to Governor Cuomo, many police officers aren’t “yet eligible” to be considered for a prioritized vaccination: 

“Police who are not health care workers are not yet eligible. We need to get the health care population done first because they are the front line, as I mentioned before.”

When Mayor de Blasio made the comments about police officers getting listed among prioritized vaccine recipients, it’s not as though he was seemingly going rouge.

According to Mayor de Blasio spokesperson, Bill Neidhardt, New York City as led to believe that police and corrections officers could be added to the fold. And from what Neidhardt stated, it seems that the city still wants to employ the common-sense distribution method:

“New York City is asking for the freedom to vaccinate more high-risk workers who are out there saving the lives of New Yorkers. It’s simple. We have the doses, let’s put it in their arms and help them save lives.”

Of the roughly 25,000 police officers within the NYPD that have public-facing roles, currently only about 400 officers fall under the vaccine-eligible front-line workers defined by Governor Cuomo, as they’re medics in the emergency service unit. 

When commenting on the back and forth that has ensued between Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo regarding the handling of the pandemic overall, DiGiacomo stated that a “personality conflict” in hindering the rightful treatment of NYPD officers: 

“It appears to me to be a personality conflict between the mayor and the governor. What’s going on with the way the politicians are treating the police is unethical and unfair.”

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In other matters related to New York City, a series of vehicles were said to have been set ablaze by an unknown assailant. One of the vehicle torched was reportedly a vehicle allocated for disaster relief. 

Here’s that previous report. 

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HARLEM, NY- Three vehicles, including an essential disaster-relief truck at a Salvation Army temple in Harlem were torched overnight on Sunday, January 3rd by an unknown vandal.

According to reports, one of the workers mad the grim discovery around 7:30 a.m. on Monday, January 4th in a parking lot near the Salvation Army Harlem Temple Corps Community Center on Lenox Avenue and 137th Street. 

The fire devastated the temple’s Mobile Canteen, which is a van equipped with a full kitchen, bathroom, plumbing system, and more.

According to Captain Chaka Watch, who leads the temple along with his wife, Emeline, said that the Salvation Army had been using the canteen to feed up to 300 people each day. The canteen will cost nearly $250,000 to replace. He said:

“The things that they broke are things that you can’t just make. They’ve disabled us.”

Fox 5 reported that over the years, the Salvation Army has sued the mobile canteen to support the emergency response operations at several notable locations, including the current COVID-19 pandemic, Superstorm Sandy, the eight-day blackout in Astoria, Queens in 2006, and the MTA strike in 2005.

Fire crews responded just before 2 a.m. Monday, January 4th, to extinguish the fire. an FDNY spokesperson said that two other vehicles were also damaged in the fire. According to Watch, the main target appears to have been a Cadillac Escalade that does not belong to the Salvation Army.

Watch said that the canteen has served as a critical lifeline during the pandemic as well as being used for senior citizens’ and children’s programs.

Due to a gas leak back in November 2020, the temple’s main kitchen has been disabled, which means the Salvation Army will be forced to prepare cold meals now that the canteen is out of commission. Watch said:

“You can imagine trying to eat a sandwich when it’s very cold. That’s what we’ve been reduced to.”

The flames also destroyed the equipment workers were using to prepare meals for the center soup kitchen while its building underwent renovations. Watch said:

“It has affected a lot of people because now, we cannot feed people. We cannot do the things that we need to do with the truck. We feed about 300 people a day. If this truck is needed elsewhere in New York City, it’s not going to happen.”

Authorities are working to gather surveillance footage from nearby buildings. An NYPD spokesperson said the fire was under investigation by FDNY fire marshals. However, the fire department could not yet confirm whether arson was suspected.

The group has created a donation drive to help pay for replacing the destroyed equipment. The fundraising page reads, in part:

“This mobile canteen has the highest capacity in the Salvation Army’s fleet and is equipped with a griddle, stovetop, ovens, food warmers, a microwave, refrigerator, freezer, bathroom, complete plumbing system, and more. It is estimated that the total cost of replacement will be $250,000.”

Watch said the timing of trying to raise money, could not be worse, coming right after the Christmas holiday. He said:

“Because of the pandemic we didn’t even raise a lot of money, you know, we didn’t even have the workers and now we are in another situation.”

Watch is praying that the community that they have served for so long rallies to their need so that they can continue serving those who need them most.

Before coming to Harlem from Long Island in November, the canteen had a long history of service around the New York City area. Besides hoping for donations, Watch said he plans to pray for the arsonist, so that “God’s love can convince them to see the light and be better.” Watch said:

“If they wanted to be cruel to this person’s car, now they’ve deprived the whole community of food. There’s no reason for it.”

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