Health care workers, legal experts react to de Blasio vaccine mandate

Coronavirus

NEW YORK — Health care workers who spend hours upon hours exposed to coronavirus, yet — for whatever the reason — They still haven’t been vaccinated.

There are of course medical exceptions but New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is zeroing in on those public healthcare workers who have so far actively chosen not to get the vaccine.

PIX11 News asked health care workers at Manhattan’s Bellevue Hospital for their reaction Wednesday evening to the Mayor’s new ultimatum, which he argues is in the public interest and will only increase the overall vaccination rate.

“I don’t see anything wrong with it — for health care workers to get vaccinated because you have to protect yourself first before you protect the patient,” said one employee, who only went by her first name, Rebecca. “Because if you’re sick, how are you going to get healthy to help others?”

But for other health care workers this is a complex issue.

“I feel like threatening people is kind of rough,” said Joe, another Bellevue worker. “I don’t know if that’s really gonna work for a lot of people but I would ask people to get vaccinated because we really need the help. Because I’m starting to see it more and it’s scary and I don’t want to go back to where we were.”

The head of one of the city health care worker unions was not happy with Mayor de Blasio’s approach.

But employment attorney Jon Bell says there is sound legal standing for the mayor’s position.

“What Mayor de Blasio is doing is entirely legal, as long as they’re not violating a protected class,” said Bell. “You can’t rules or policies that affects one of those, however the unvaccinated is not a protected class.”

Workers who don’t get vaccinated or tested weekly will be suspended without pay, de Blasio said.

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