New York City vaccine mandate extends to all city workers and includes a new $500 bonus, mayor says

New York City’s vaccine mandate now covers all municipal workers — and comes with a $500 bonus for those who start their shots between now and October 29 at a city-run site, the city announced Wednesday.

“It’s a mandate now for all city agencies, all city workers. It’s time for everyone to get vaccinated,” Mayor Bill de Blasio told MSNBC on Wednesday morning.

“Our public employees are going to lead us out of the Covid era.”

Previous efforts to encourage Covid-19 vaccinations didn’t result in enough city employees getting shots, the mayor told CNN.

As of Wednesday, 46,000 New York City employees were still unvaccinated, he said.

“For months and months, (vaccination was) purely voluntarily,” de Blasio told CNN.

“Then we said, get vaccinated or get tested — we tried that for a while. It helped. It didn’t get us far enough. Now we say, here’s a mandate.”

Before de Blasio’s announcement, all New York City public school teachers and other educational staff were required to be vaccinated against Covid-19.

New York City’s health care workers were already required to get vaccinated under the state’s vaccination mandate.

“The mandates work,” de Blasio told CNN, citing vaccination rates of about 96% among the city’s educators and health care workers.

Other city workers either had to be vaccinated or get tested weekly. But now, the testing option will be removed.

“We’re going to work with your union to figure out what happens next,” de Blasio told MSNBC, noting medical and religious accommodations remain in place. “But the bottom line is we’re not going to pay people unless they’re vaccinated.”

However, at least one union — the Police Benevolent Association of the City of New York, which represents about 24,000 police officers — will seek legal action against the mandate, its president said.

“From the beginning of the de Blasio administration’s haphazard vaccine rollout, we have fought to make the vaccine available to every member who chooses it, while also protecting their right to make that personal medical decision in consultation with their own doctor,” union President Patrick Lynch said Wednesday in a statement.

“Now that the city has moved to unilaterally impose a mandate, we will proceed with legal action to protect our members’ rights.”

More than a quarter of NYPD and uniformed FDNY aren’t vaccinated

About 60% of uniformed members of the Fire Department of New York had been vaccinated as of Wednesday, FDNY spokesperson Jim Long said.

The New York Police Department’s overall vaccination rate was about 71%, NYPD Detective Annette Shelton said Wednesday.

“Since vaccines became available, we have encouraged our employees, especially those who have contact with the public, to get vaccinated,” Shelton said.

“We continue to make vaccinations available at multiple times and at multiple locations to ensure that as many of our employees as possible get the vaccination.”

Since the pandemic started last year in the US, Covid-19 has killed about five times more police officers nationwide than gunfire has.

About 482 officers died from Covid-19 in 2020 and 2021, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.

De Blasio said Covid-19 has killed too many police officers.

“We got to protect them. This vaccine mandate allows us to do that,” de Blasio said.

Some uniformed corrections officers in New York City won’t be immediately required to be vaccinated.

While civilian employees of the Department of Correction (DOC) and uniformed members assigned to health care settings have a deadline of October 29 to start their vaccination, the deadline for uniformed DOC employees will be December 1 “as the City works diligently to address the ongoing staffing situation at Rikers Island,” the NYC government website said.

$500 for getting 1st shots at a city-run site

Starting Wednesday, some 160,500 city employees can get an extra $500 in their paychecks for receiving their first shot at a city-run vaccination site.

That benefit will end at 5 p.m. October 29, when all city workers except uniformed DOC employees be required to have at least one dose of vaccine.

“Unvaccinated employees will be placed on unpaid leave until they show proof of vaccination to their supervisor,” the city government’s website said.

It was not immediately clear whether city workers who were vaccinated before Wednesday would be eligible for a $500 bonus. CNN has asked the mayor’s office for comment.

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