Mayor Eric Adams is officially ending COVID-19 vaccine mandates for private-sector employees and student-athletes in public schools — but not for city workers.
The private sector mandate will expire on November 1, while the end of student athlete requirements will take effect immediately, Adams announced Tuesday.
But he offered little explanation for why vaccination orders were still required for city employees, including teachers and police officers.
Instead, Adams defended his vaccination requirements throughout the pandemic, saying, “I don’t think anything dealing with COVID makes sense and there’s no (one) logical way.”
“They are making decisions based on how we keep our city safe and how we keep our people working. By taking the vaccine, we’ve been able to keep the city open,” Adams added as he received his booster shot.
“We are – if anything changes, we will announce it.”
Hizzoner said his legal team has reviewed the changing requirements for private but non-public workers – and they are “in full compliance with the law”.
He added that for some, the phasing out of the requirement “is not an indication that we don’t think booster shots are important and that vaccinations are important.”
Still, the push to phase out the mandate for non-city workers only sparked an immediate backlash from police unions and some teachers, who called it “fundamentally irrational.”
“Now that the city has abandoned any pretense of public health justification for immunization mandates, we expect it to resolve our pending lawsuits and reinstate our members who have been wrongfully fired with back pay,” said Patrick Lynch, President of the Police Benevolent Association, in a statement.
“Today’s announcement by City Hall to drop the vaccination mandate for private sector workers only is irrational pseudoscience. Let’s face it, the mayor knows people aren’t avoiding returning to their office because of the mandate — it’s fear of the city’s crime crisis,” added Paul DiGiacomo, president of the Detectives’ Endowment Association.
The United Federation of Teachers, meanwhile, backed the mayor’s message that vaccination has kept millions of New Yorkers healthy and safe, and encouraged vaccination and booster shots.
Since the public sector mandate took effect last October under former Mayor Bill de Blasio, the Big Apple has laid off more than 2,600 under-vaccinated municipal employees.
That includes 850 public school teachers and class assistants who quit this back-to-school season for not getting the jab.
New York City students have never had to get the COVID-19 vaccine to attend class. But those without the jab have been barred from participating in extracurricular activities deemed “high risk” — from sports to the choir to a band — for more than a year. These rules did not apply to school activities such as physical education or music classes.
According to city data, around 43% of children under the age of 17 are fully vaccinated. Less than half of the elementary school-age children received both doses.
Vaccination rates in city schools also vary by borough and race or ethnicity — schools in Manhattan and a majority of Asian students have the highest numbers, according to a recent study.
“This is great news for the kids,” said Danielle McGuire, who taught special education in Far Rockaway, Queens, for 23 years – but was unable to provide proof of immunization as of this school year’s deadline.
“However, some of the kids in our schools have parents who work — or have worked — for New York City. Think of their agony,” she said.
McGuire, who last taught fifth grade at PS 42, added that most city workers who have been fired or furloughed worked in person during the pandemic before the vaccine was available.
“We had no qualms about going and teaching in person,” she said. “All we want to do is get back to our jobs.”
Christopher Florio, a recently retired New York City Police Department detective, told the Post there shouldn’t have been a mandate at all.
“I finally got the highest rank I could get — first class,” said Florio, who left this summer after his requests for medical and religious exemptions were denied. “And I had no intention of leaving. I was like, ‘Oh, maybe I’ll do 30 years.’”
“A few months later, in October, de Blasio came out with a mandate – and I was devastated. I see the end of my career.”
Health Commissioner Ashwin Vasan said the mandates were put in place to get people collectively to get vaccinated.
“I think it’s important not to see any of these decisions in isolation. I know they are reported in isolation, but they are all interconnected,” Vasan said.
Vaccination remains mandatory for schoolgoers — including parents and prospective families considering enrolling in the schools, a spokesman for the city’s health department confirmed Tuesday. He did not give a timetable for the expiry of this policy.
GOP Council Member Joe Borelli said he had met with the Health Commissioner about the different rules for municipal and other workers, but no sensible response had ever been given.
“We asked the commissioner privately, and now he’s been asked publicly,” Borelli told The Post. “Neither time resulted in a reasonable response, let alone one good enough to fire people.”
The removal of the vaccination mandate followed a meeting between Adams and the NYC Council’s Common Sense Caucus, led by Borelli.
“After a constructive meeting with our caucus two weeks ago, we are delighted that Mayor Adams has decided to remove COVID vaccine mandates that have hurt our businesses, hampered our city’s economic recovery and prevented our children from fully participating in sports and activities to participate in extracurricular activities,” the statement said.
The caucus said it will also work towards ending the public sector mandate and bringing back city workers furloughed or fired for non-compliance.
https://nypost.com/2022/09/20/adams-ends-vaccine-mandates-for-private-biz-student-athletes/ Adams Ends Vaccination Mandates For Private Businesses, Student Athletes