New York City will require all city workers to be vaccinated or risk losing their jobs, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Wednesday. Regular testing will not be an option for workers who refuse to get vaccinated, he said.
More than 65 percent of New York City’s nearly nine million residents are fully vaccinated, well above the national average of 57 percent. But pockets of residents and public employees have resisted getting vaccinated, leading city and state officials to push for mandates.
“As we continue our recovery for all of us, city workers have been a daily inspiration,” Mr. de Blasio said in a statement. “Now is the time for them to show their city the path out of this pandemic once and for all.”
Uniformed correction officers would initially be excluded, he said, because of staffing shortages at Rikers Island.
The mandate builds on a July announcement that all city employees would be required to show proof of vaccination or submit to weekly testing.
In August, educators became the first city workers to face a full vaccine mandate. That month, then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a vaccine mandate for health care workers in the state.
Today’s announcement, reported earlier by the New York Post, will immediately apply to about 160,500 workers. More than 70 percent of them have already received at least one dose of the vaccine, the statement said.
City employees who have not yet received their first doses will receive an extra $500 in their paychecks for getting their first shots at a city-run vaccination site, a benefit that will end on Oct. 29. By that point, all of the city’s more than 300,000 employees will be required to have proof of at least one dose.
Some labor leaders, representing thousands of workers, have resisted that city mandate.
In late September, Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers, said city schools “are not ready for the implementation of the vaccine mandate.”
But on Oct. 1, Mr. de Blasio said 90 percent of the city’s Department of Education staff, including 93 percent of teachers and 98 percent of principals, were vaccinated. “The bottom line is this mandate has worked,” he said during an interview on MSNBC.
Patrick J. Lynch, president of the city’s largest police union, the Police Benevolent Association, said on Oct. 6 that his union would “continue to protect the rights of members who are not vaccinated.”