NYC sets spring deadline to decide on school vaccine mandate

Coronavirus

Registered Nurse Natasha McDannis inoculates Otto Linn-Walton, 8, with the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children 5 to 12 years at NYC Health + Hospitals Harlem Hospital on Nov. 4, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Jeenah Moon)

NEW YORK – Mayor-elect Eric Adams and city health officials on Thursday set a spring deadline to decide whether or not there will be a vaccine mandate for city schools.

Adams was joined by City Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi and members of his incoming administration to unveil his COVID response plan.

He said the city will likely decide by “sometime in April” if there will be a vaccine mandate for public school students come the 2022 academic year. Adams also said he has been in talks with Gov. Kathy Hochul and Teachers Union President Michael Mulgrew about a possible mandate.

In an interview with MSNBC on Dec. 17, Hochul said she plans to bring a statewide vaccine requirement for all school-age children.

The mayor-elect previously said he would back a vaccine mandate for school children if there’s full Food and Drug Administration approval and a recommendation from city health professionals.

A PIX11 News poll in October found 54% support a mandate while 31% do not support it, assuming full approval by regulators. The remaining were undecided.

In October, a COVID-19 vaccine mandate went into effect for teachers and staff.

Outgoing Mayor Bill de Blasio’s vaccine mandate for private-sector employers will remain in place for the start of the new year, Dr. Chokshi added. 

The focus will be on compliance rather than punishment. 

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