Once had the nation’s strictest policies, but things are changing: NYC will no longer require employees to show proof of vaccination

NEW YORK — New York City once had the strictest COVID-19 vaccination rules for the workplace in the country. Now, the city is ending one of its last COVID-19 vaccination rules by saying it will no longer require municipal employees like police officers, firefighters, and teachers to get the shots.

Mayor Eric Adams said Monday that the vaccine requirement, which led to the firing of hundreds of city workers who didn’t want to get shots, will end on Friday.

Adams, a Democrat, said that “this is the right time for this decision” because more than 96% of city employees and more than 80% of city residents have already gotten their first set of vaccines.

Dr. Ashwin Vasan, the city’s health commissioner, said, “It’s clear that these rules saved lives and were a must at the time. We’re glad that, now that the emergency phase of the pandemic is over, we can change more of the rules that got us here.”

One of the last COVID-19 rules that was still in place in New York City was that city workers had to get shots. The city stopped requiring private business employees to get vaccinated in November 2022, and masks are no longer required in most public places, like subways and buses.

Kyrie Irving, an All-Star point guard who didn’t believe in vaccines, missed most of the Brooklyn Nets’ home games last season because of a New York City law.

Any changes to the coronavirus rules in New York City will no longer affect Irving. The Nets and the Dallas Mavericks made a deal Monday that will send Irving to Dallas.

About 337,000 city workers in New York City were required to get the COVID-19 vaccine. This was one of the largest groups of government workers in the U.S.

Under a $858 billion defense spending bill passed by Congress and signed into law by President Joe Biden in December, the 1.3 million people in the U.S. military no longer have to get shots.

About 1,780 New York City workers who lost their jobs because they didn’t get the required vaccinations won’t automatically get them back, but they can apply for jobs with the agencies where they used to work, city officials said.

Some of the fired workers’ unions were going to hold a news conference Monday afternoon to ask for their jobs back and back pay.

Gayle Gordon

As a college student, making an extra buck now and then was very important. I started as a part-time reporter since I was 19 yo, and I couldn’t believe it might become a long-time career. I'm happy to be part of the Virginian Tribune's team.

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