NYC Sets Vaccination Deadlines For City Workers, Eliminates Testing Option

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New York City is expanding its COVID-19 vaccine mandate to all public employees and eliminating the option for weekly testing for employees who are not yet vaccinated.

The expanded mandate comes as the city's vaccine mandate for all Department of Education employees has withstood a number of legal challenges.

Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration is signaling that all those who serve the city are responsible for protecting it from the pandemic through vaccination.

The city also announced an incentive: effective immediately, employees who get their first shot at a city-run vaccination site will get an extra $500 in their next paycheck.

The new rules affect more than 160,000 city employees (including NYPD, FDNY and corrections officers). About 70 percent of city employees have received at least one shot, including more than 95 percent of Department of Education employees.

About 20,000 unvaccinated NYPD officers have until 5 p.m. on October 29 to get at least one dose or be placed on unpaid leave. The NYPD's largest labor union has promised legal action to block the mandate.

Dr. Gregory Poland of the Mayo Clinic told 710WOR Wednesday that the mandate for public workers makes sense, especially when it comes to public safety departments.

"What strikes me is that these are individuals that took a pledge to protect the people — in fact, on the [police] cars, it says 'to serve and protect,'" Poland said. "Well, who sees more vulnerable people, other than the nursing homes? The police do, and the fire crews do, so I think it's appropriate."

The FDNY-Uniformed Firefighters Association planned to address the media later Wednesday. About 59 percent of city firefighters are vaccinated.

Mayor de Blasio noted that COVID-19 has taken a particular toll on police in the past year-and-a-half. Vaccination will help officers protect themselves and one-another, he said.

About 69 percent of NYPD employees are vaccinated, according to NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea. Shea said this summer that he would support a vaccination mandate for police.

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