New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday announced a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all municipal workers -- a move that is likely to escalate tensions with unions and employees that have been resistant.
Nearly 150,000 of the city's workers -- teachers and school staff -- had already been required to be vaccinated, but the new announcement, applying to about 160,500 workers, took the push for vaccination one step further.
About 71% of employees have already have at least one shot of the vaccine. It’s up to 95% in the 11 city-run hospitals, and 96% in schools, where vaccinations are already mandatory.
But other sectors of the city's workforce, including the police and fire departments, lag behind.
About 69% of NYPD employees and 60% of FDNY workers are vaccinated and both the fire and police commissioners have endorsed the mandate. The Police Benevolent Association has previously said “vaccine is a medical decision that members must make in consultation with their own health care providers.”
The mandate is expected to include all employees from sanitation workers to office workers and will require some 161,000 workers to have their first dose by Oct. 29.
Those who receive their first dose at a city-run vaccination site will receive a $500 bonus, the mayor's office said, a benefit that ends on Oct. 29.
Municipal employees who do not get vaccinated will be placed on unpaid leave, and their future employment will be resolved in negotiations with individual labor unions.
Correction officers will face a later deadline of Dec. 1.