NEW YORK CITY — All employees at city-run hospitals will be required to receive a COVID-19 vaccine or face rigorous testing requirements, the mayor’s office said Tuesday.
The mayor is set to formally make the announcement on Wednesday, Mayoral Press Secretary Bill Neidhardt said.
The mandate will include all employees of NYC Health + Hospitals and those who work at public clinics at the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, along with some additional facilities.
Neidhardt said employees not vaccinated against COVID-19 will need to “submit to weekly testing for COVID-19.”
The policy is likely to take effect at the beginning of August and will impact about 30,000 employees. Currently, about 70% of the 30,000 health care workers at city health facilities are fully vaccinated.
It’s another example of institutions requiring vaccinations in an effort to both increase stalling numbers of people acquiring protection against the coronavirus, as well as to ensure that institutions can operate safely.
In New Jersey, Kean University is among a variety of colleges and universities requiring students to provide proof of vaccination. While most colleges require it before classes begin, Kean’s date is Aug. 1, a full month before the first classes.
Without vaccination proof, said Karen Smith, vice president of university relations, students “will be deregistered from their classes.”
“We want our students to understand,” Smith continued, “that if they submit that record, they’re going to be able to come to campus and it’s going to be a little bit closer to what they’re used to.”
The moves are in response to COVID-19 numbers continuing to rise over the last few weeks, although the numbers are not nearly as high as they were last winter.
With the advent of several COVID-19 vaccine options, cases dramatically declined in New York and around the nation. But the highly contagious delta variant is reversing that downward trend, most notably for unvaccinated individuals, experts say.
The delta variant is behind the mayor’s vaccination mandate.
As COVID-19 cases slowly rise in the area, the City Council’s Health Committee chairman said the delta variant has become the dominant strain of the virus. City Councilmember Mark Levine said the delta variant makes up 69% of new cases in the city — up from 44% the week before. (It represents 83% of cases nationwide, according to the CDC.)
Health officials urged New Yorkers to get vaccinated Tuesday, if they haven’t already. NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi told the PIX11 Morning News’ Betty Nguyen that he’s very concerned about the delta variant.
The mayor, though, has insisted that he has no plans to bring back a mask mandate as Los Angeles did last week — though that could always change based on data.