A teacup piglet Instagram star who lives in a Brooklyn fire house sparked controversy after warning a COVID vaccine mandate would see NYC lose half its firefighters.
Penny the teacup piglet – who lives at FDNY’s Engine 239 in Prospect Park – shared a snap of the flyer to an Instagram story, which warned the Big Apple could lose 50 per cent of its firefighters due to the November 1 edict.
Written in attention-grabbing red letters, it said: ‘Attention NYC Residents: Did you know almost half of the FDNY is about to get laid off because of the mandates?
‘How will this affect YOU?’ It went on to detail statistics – including that the FDNY responds to 600,000 fires each year, with 606 New Yorkers injured in blazes each month, and that most fires occur in ‘COMMUNITIES OF COLOR’.
Penny’s flyer goes on to claim that there’ll be 3,500 fewer firefighters protecting the city from November 1, and adds: ‘If you have to call 911 for your family member during a heart attack, or your home starting to burn down, the Fire Department WON’T BE ABLE TO COME.’
It then urges anyone angry at the mandate to contact local elected officials, although its data appears to be inaccurate, with 70 per cent of the FDNY’s 17,300 staff receiving at least one shot of a COVID vaccine by October 29.
Penny the Fire Pig, the unofficial mascot for the FDNY’s Engine 239, came out as anti-mandate advocate on her Instagram page on Wednesday
The pig’s account posted a flyer in opposition of Mayor De Blasio’s mandate for city workers on November 1
The account, which has over 12,000 followers, is believed to be run by Penny’s owner Harris, who subsequently deleted the story – and insisted that he is not an anti-vaxxer.
‘I’m vaccinated and understand importance of the shot,’ Harris told Rolling Stone in an Instagram message. ‘I just don’t want any firehouses shut down.’
The post has since been taken down as a children’s book is being created for Penny, according to Harris.
‘I’d rather talk about [Penny’s] book,’ Harris said in response to a question about the mandate. ‘I’m so sorry.’
The ‘pig’ celebrity’s Instagram account normally posts lighthearted content as she is seen eating ice cream, finger or ‘snout’ painting and enjoying some laughs with members of the community.
The pig became the unofficial mascot for the Brooklyn fire house after she was adopted by firefighter Darren Harris from a Virginia farm
A total of 26 New York firehouses have been forced to close after firefighters refused to get vaccinated ahead of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Monday deadline.
The Uniformed Firefighters Association revealed a list of FDNY stations that ‘have close due to no manpower’ and it includes six in Manhattan, nine in Brooklyn, three in Queens, four in the Bronx and four in Staten Island.
In protest of the mandate hundreds of New York City firefighters took sick leave on Friday instead of complying with De Blasio’s deadline for all city workers to be vaccinated or be placed on unpaid leave.
A total of 26 New York firehouses have been forced to close after firefighters refused to get vaccinated ahead of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Monday deadline
Even after a surge in vaccines before the mandate’s deadline on Friday 10,951 firefighters; about 36,000 cops; and 10,000 emergency responders – around 4,300 of whom are employed by the fire department – have yet to get jabbed
According to the Post, the FDNY saw firefighters’ vaccination rate rise from 67 percent Friday morning to 72 percent by the end of the day.
The Emergency Medical Service (EMS) – which is part of the FDNY – saw a spike to 84 percent – up from 77 percent
Vaccination rates among NYPD’s 55,000-strong police force rose from 80 to 84 percent.
The Department of Sanitation also saw a jump in vaccination rate, from 67 percent to 76, according to the Post.
Firefighters rallied outside Mayor Bill de Blasio’s residence Gracie Mansion on Thursday to protest his Covid-19 vaccine mandate for all city workers
Unvaccinated city employees who got their first and second doses after the mandate was announced on October 20 were offered a $500 bonus as incentive to get their shots. That deadline passed on Friday October 29 – the official vaccine mandate deadline. But people who arrive at work Monday who have proof they’ve received a shot over the weekend won’t be put on unpaid leave.
De Blasio is still fearing a massive staff-shortage that could threaten public safety come next week and he took an opportunity during the NYPD’s annual Medal Day ceremony to plead with unvaccinated cops to get their long-awaited vaccines.
The mayor said: ‘Today, we honored people who made us safer. By getting vaccinated we’re making the city safer.’
After the ceremony, he told reporters outside of the Police Academy in Queens, according to the Daily News: ‘My message to all city employees who are not yet vaccinated is: We care about you. We care about your health and your families’ health.
‘We care about the health of the people we serve and come in contact with every day.
Instead of inspiring people to get their jabs, De Blasio’s edict has triggered furious protests and warnings that up to 40 percent of firehouses could close, with up to 150 fewer ambulances a day in service.
A total of 66.7% of Americans have had at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine