NEW YORK, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) -- The first vaccines available to some of New York City's first responders could be distributed in a matter of weeks, according to an internal memo of the New York City Fire Department (FDNY).
The memo sent to emergency medical technicians (EMTs), paramedics and firefighters said that vaccinations for COVID-19 "will potentially begin in mid-late December" pending FDA approval, U.S. national television network NBC reported on Sunday.
The memo said that the vaccine either from Moderna or Pfizer will "NOT" be mandatory "but the Department recommends that members consider the overall health benefits."
The paramedics and EMTs from the FDNY were particularly hard hit by the virus this spring, with as many as one in four medics sick during the height of the pandemic.
The department handled a record 6,500-plus 911 calls for nearly a week as hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 exploded citywide.
As of Saturday evening, the coronavirus deaths added up to 24,260 and the confirmed cases to 307,181 in New York City, according to The City, a project that tracks the spread of confirmed COVID-19 infections and fatalities in New York City, based on information provided by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the governor's office, The COVID Tracking Project and the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.
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