New York mayor ending COVID vaccine mandate for city workers

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FILE PHOTO: New York City Mayor Eric Adams speaks at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in Manhattan in New York City, New York, U.S., November 10, 2022. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon

(Reuters) – New York Mayor Eric Adams said on Monday that he was lifting a controversial COVID-19 vaccine mandate for municipal workers and the city’s Department of Education employees.

The United States’ largest city by population will also end the vaccination requirements, which began in late 2021, for nonpublic school, early child care, and daycare staff.

The mandate will end on Friday if the decision is ratified, as expected, at the upcoming city Board of Health Meeting, Adams, a Democrat, said in a statement.

Adams noted that since more than 96% of the city’s workers have taken the COVID vaccine “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 mayor said.

The decision comes four months after New York ended a COVID vaccine mandate for private employers, and 10 months after the mayor lifted vaccine requirements for professional athletes and performers.

Roughly 1,780 former municipal workers who were fired for declining to submit proof that they had taken the vaccine will be able to reapply for their old jobs.

The union representing New York City’s 36,000 police officers, which has fought against the mandate in court, welcomed the mayor’s decision, but said the “job is only half done.”

“We call on the City to ensure that our members who were fired or had their employment unfairly impacted are reinstated, with back pay and without condition,” union head Patrick Lynch said in a statement.

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