Oct. 20, 2021 By Allie Griffin
All city workers must get vaccinated for COVID-19 or face unpaid leave under a new mandate Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday.
The mandate requires city employees — including police officers, firefighters and sanitation workers — to get at least one dose by 5 p.m. on Oct. 29. It heightens a previous measure in which city workers were required to show proof of vaccination or submit to weekly testing.
“It’s a mandate now for all city agencies — all city workers,” de Blasio said on MSNBC Wednesday morning. “It’s time for everyone to get vaccinated. Our public employees are going to lead us out of the COVID era.”
Workers who get their first shot at a city-run vaccination site by that Friday at 5 p.m. will receive an extra $500 in their paycheck. Workers who don’t get one dose by then will be placed on unpaid leave until they show proof of vaccination to their supervisor.
After workers submit proof of their first dose of vaccination, they will have 45 days to submit proof of their second dose if they received the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine.
There are about 300,000 city workers across a number of agencies. Nearly half — made up of Department of Education staff and city hospital workers — have already been required to get the shot under a prior mandate that went into effect in late September.
The new mandate applies to the remaining 160,500 city workers. Of those workers, about 71 percent have already received at least one dose and roughly 46,000 workers have yet to get the shot, according to the mayor’s office.
De Blasio decided to expand the vaccine requirement to all city employees after the mandate for DOE and city hospital staffers proved successful. About 96 percent of DOE staff and 95 percent of public hospital staff have gotten at least one shot, according to data provided by the mayor’s office.
Vaccination rates among other groups of workers remain lower.
The Department of Corrections has the lowest vaccinate rate at just 50 percent of staffers having received at least one dose as of last week, the New York Times reported. The fire department, emergency medical services and sanitation department each have a vaccination rate of about 60 percent and the NYPD is at 69 percent, according to the Times.
The new mandate applies to the DOC employees as well, but uniformed correction officers have until Dec.1 to get their first shot. The city is providing the extra time due to the ongoing staffing shortage at Rikers Island, de Blasio said.
The city will allow religious and medical exemptions from the mandate on a case-by-case basis, the mayor said.