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Many New Yorkers Struggle to Get Vaccinated or Be Fired

By Emma G. Fitzsimmons - Feb. 10, 2022

Mayor Eric Adams has reaffirmed the city’s looming ultimatum: If city workers do not get vaccinated, they are the ones who will be fired.

The Adams administration is poised to dismiss up to 3,000 municipal workers on Friday for refusing to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, in what could be the nation’s most drastic example of a work force reduction tied to a vaccine requirement.

The mandate, put in place by Mr. Adams’s predecessor, Bill de Blasio, has been effective: About 95 percent of the city’s 370,000 workers have received at least one dose of the vaccine, an increase from 84 percent when the mandate was first announced in October.

The loss of roughly 3,000 workers would represent less than 1 percent of the city’s work force, but is still believed to be the largest worker reduction in the nation in response to a vaccine mandate. Another roughly 1,000 new city employees must show proof of two doses by Friday or they could also be fired.

Dr. Jay Varma, a former health adviser to Mr. de Blasio, said the mandate was one of the most important public health measures the city took during the pandemic, and that it protected essential workers and the public while setting a precedent for private employers and other communities.

“Vaccine mandates are contagious,” he said. “Many other cities and states adopted employee mandates after New York City, because if you can make it happen here, you can make it happen everywhere.”

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