New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced Monday that the city will make vaccination optional for current and prospective city workers effective Feb. 10.
This comes as more than 96% of city workers are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Adams’ office said. Despite the reversal, the approximately 1,780 former city workers who were terminated for not complying with the COVID-19 vaccine mandates in the past will not automatically get their jobs back, but can reply for positions in their former agencies.
“City workers stepped up tremendously throughout the pandemic,” Adams said in a statement. “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. 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.”
“As we near our third year with COVID-19, we continue to evaluate existing measures and adjust them as needed,” Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom added.
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New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced that — with more than 96% of city workers fully vaccinated against COVID-19 — the city will make vaccination optional for current and prospective city workers effective Feb. 10, 2023. (Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Despite the reversal, Adams’ administration stood by the need for previously mandating the inoculations.
“It’s clear these mandates saved lives and were absolutely necessary to meet the moment. 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,” New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan said in a statement. “We cannot overstate our appreciation for the millions of New Yorkers who made the necessary sacrifices to keep our city safe and save lives.”
Adams’ administration says the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for city workers has helped keep New Yorkers safe but is no longer necessary. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)
Following the expected ratification at the next Board of Health meeting, COVID-19 vaccination will be optional for city employees, in addition to New York City Department of Education (DOE) employees. The city will also end the vaccination requirements for nonpublic schools, early child care, and daycare staff.
According to the Adams administration, “The COVID-19 vaccine mandate for city workers has helped keep New Yorkers safe and New York City operations running throughout the pandemic. With the vast majority of city workers and New Yorkers vaccinated, and more tools readily available to protect people from serious illness, the vaccine requirement for the primary series of shots has served its purpose, driving rates of vaccination up among the city’s workforce during a critical period in the pandemic.”
The about 1,780 former New York City employees terminated for failing to submit proof of vaccination will not be able to automatically return to their previous positions. They will be able to re-apply with their former agencies. (Fatih Aktas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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“This news will come as an incredible relief to thousands of city workers and their families, and the parents and guardians who have been barred from attending their children’s public school events,” Common Sense Caucus said in a statement obtained by Fox News. “There is more to be done for those workers who were unjustly fired for making personal medical choices, but this is a tremendous step toward righting the wrongs of the previous administration’s misguided pandemic policies. We are grateful to the Mayor.”
Fox News’ Maria Paronich and Alexis McAdams contributed to this report.
Danielle Wallace is a reporter for Fox News Digital covering politics, crime, police and more. Story tips can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter: @danimwallace.