New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi will sign an order Wednesday formalizing the mandate, which will apply for about 160,000 city workers. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
Oct. 20 (UPI) -- New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Wednesday that all city workers must be vaccinated against COVID-19 -- and they must have at least the first dose by the end of the month, or be removed from their jobs.
De Blasio said in his announcement that the city decided to extend a vaccine requirement for all teachers and students in public schools to cover all municipal workers, as well.
The mayor also added an incentive -- a $500 bonus if they get the first dose at a city-run vaccination site. That fiscal reward offer ends at the end of next week.
"There is no greater privilege than serving the people of New York City, and that privilege comes with a responsibility to keep yourself and your community safe," de Blasio said in a statement.
"We have led the way against COVID-19 -- from fighting for the right to vaccinate front-line workers, to providing nation-leading incentives, to creating the Key to NYC mandate.
"As we continue our recovery for all of us, city workers have been a daily inspiration. Now is the time for them to show their city the path out of this pandemic once and for all."
New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi will sign an order Wednesday formalizing the mandate, which will apply for about 160,000 city workers.
City workers who don't comply will be placed on unpaid leave until they show proof of vaccination. Corrections officers at the city's Rikers Island prison will have until Dec. 1 to get the vaccine, due to a staffing shortage.
"Seventy-one percent of the workers affected by this mandate have already received at least one vaccine dose," the city said in the announcement.
"The new mandate is effective on November 1st to the entire municipal workforce, including all NYPD, FDNY and [sanitation] employees. Civilian employees of the Department of Correction and uniformed members assigned to healthcare settings are also immediately subject to the mandate."
The city's education department and health and hospital workers already had vaccination mandates in place. Wednesday's announcement noted that 96% of education employees and 95% of health and hospital workers are vaccinated.
"Vaccinations are critical to combating the COVID-19 pandemic," New York City Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Melanie Hartzog said. "This mandate is a bold step that protects our families, friends and communities, including those that are not yet eligible for the vaccine such as our city's youngest residents."
Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge David Hurd ruled that New York had to allow religious exemptions to the vaccine for healthcare workers while the issue is settled in the courts.