On Monday, February 6th, Mayor Eric Adams announced that the city will be removing its vaccination mandate for city workers. The move comes as over 96% of city workers are already fully vaccinated for COVID-19.
In addition to making vaccines optional for city workers, the Adams Administration also announced that the requirement for vaccinations for Department of Education visitors will also be removed.
Vaccinations will be made optional effective February 10, 2023, at the next Board of Health meeting. In the press release announcement, Mayor Adams said, “City workers stepped up tremendously throughout the pandemic. From our health care frontline workers and first responders who saved lives, to the city employees who kept our streets clean, our schools open, and our streets safe, we owe city workers a debt of gratitude for their service during New York City’s darkest days.”
Mayor Adams continued, “With more than 96 percent of city workers and more than 80 percent of New Yorkers having received their primary COVID-19 series and more tools readily available to keep us healthy, this is the right moment for this decision. I continue to urge every New Yorker to get vaccinated, get boosted, and take the necessary steps to protect themselves and those around them from COVID-19.”
The vaccine mandate was put in place during the height of the pandemic in an effort to slow down the rate of infection. It was also enacted to ensure less severe cases of the virus in hopes of reducing hospitalizations. City hall has maintained the stance that increasing the rates of vaccination amongst New York City’s workforce was crucial for the city’s recovery and survival during the pandemic.
The mandatory vaccination status has been criticized by many since it was first enacted. Parents were often barred from visiting the children’s schools based on vaccination status. Upon hearing the announcement from Mayor Adams, New York City public school parent Maud Maron said, “This is long overdue and very welcome! Students will benefit from having parents welcome in their schools, for in-person parent-teacher conferences, and after-school events.”
Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom, who has previously spoken with LittleAfrica News over other Adams Administration announcements, said, “As we near our third year with COVID-19, we continue to evaluate existing measures and adjust them as needed.”
As New York continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, regulations put in place to protect New Yorkers will continue to be lifted and change as circumstances allow. New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan said, “We’re grateful that we can now, as we leave the emergency phase of the pandemic, modify more of the rules that have gotten us to this point. We cannot overstate our appreciation for the millions of New Yorkers who made the necessary sacrifices to keep our city safe and save lives.”
The vaccination requirement will become optional beginning February 10th, 2023. The press release by the Adams Administration noted that the city had completed the processing and issued all decisions for vaccine accommodation appeals. They also noted that employees that were terminated for not complying with the vaccination requirement would be able to re-apply for their previous positions with their former agencies.