NYC Mandates Vaccines or Frequent Tests for Public Hospital Employees

Mayor Bill de Blasio holds a media availability last week. (Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)

New York City will require all employees of the city’s public hospitals and health clinics to be vaccinated or be tested for the coronavirus weekly, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced at his press conference on Wednesday.

“Every single one of those employees has a choice: get vaccinated, the better choice, or get tested weekly,” de Blasio said. “At any point, you can decide, ‘Hey, I’m ready to get vaccinated, then you don’t need to get tested weekly anymore.”

The order will cover around 42,000 Health + Hospitals employees and staff at the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s public clinics, and will go into effect beginning in August, WCBS 880 reported.

“The path to New York City’s recovery runs through vaccination,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Dave  Chokshi. “If you’re vaccinated, virtually every activity is safer and it continues to be the single most important precaution we can take to safely interact with the public and our colleagues.”

The order comes as the Delta variant is causing a swell of coronavirus cases throughout the city, and causing the number of hospitalizations to rise. An average of 1.72% of tests administered in the last seven days are coming back positive, as opposed to 0.96% in the week prior, according to the New York Post.

People who are vaccinated may catch a mild version of the more infectious variant, but it is the unvaccinated who are at risk of serious illness.

Less than 60% of Health + Hospitals staff are fully vaccinated despite being some of the first people eligible for the vaccine, something Mayor Bill de Blasio has publicly criticized. Overall, 64.6% of New Yorkers are fully vaccinated and 69.8% have had at least one dose.

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