New York authorities will radically enforce the vaccination mandate, at least among its civil servants, and this Friday is the last deadline given to public education workers to get the vaccine if they want to return to work.
Those who oppose the authorities’ mandate, as is the case in other parts of the country, have launched a legal campaign to try to reverse the situation and have their right to choose whether or not to be vaccinated recognized.
“Our case is ongoing in the Supreme Court and we continue to fight on behalf of our members,” Henry Garrido, the executive director of District Council 37, the largest public employee union in New York City, which is fighting to get the City Council to withdraw its ultimatum, told EFE news agency.
The vaccination order has been stalled on a couple of occasions while the courts considered the lawsuit, but so far, judges have leaned in favor of mandatory vaccinations.
In a written message, Garrido clarified that, from his organization, they encourage their members to get vaccinated, although he considers that imposing the vaccine by “force is not the solution” and proposes, for example, that schools do “weekly tests, if they really want everyone to be safe”.
“Incentives” for vaccines
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio defends the measure in a city that became the biggest hotspot for the disease during the spring of 2019 and long topped the list of deaths, with more than 55,000 at present.
Since the implementation of the mandate was first announced on July 21, “the average number of vaccinations per day increased by 45 percent, which means 1,300,000 more doses,” said last Tuesday the alderman of the city at a press conference in which he insisted that 70 % of New Yorkers have received at least one dose.
After the initial success of the citywide immunization campaign at the beginning of the year, the pace slowed as the months passed, and authorities began to offer financial incentives.
From free train tickets, to contests for full college scholarships, to paying $100 or many other offers launched by the private sector as well, everything was good to increase the vaccination ratio.
“If you are an employee of the Department of Education, you have until Friday at five o’clock in the afternoon to at least get a first dose, the vast majority have already done so” said the mayor before warning that whoever fails to do so “after all the encouragement, all the support and all the incentives, we will assume that you will not come to work on Monday morning.”
According to the authorities, people who have not been vaccinated will not, for the time being, lose their jobs, but will not be reinstated until they are immunized and will not be paid for the days not worked.
Before today’s deadline for education officials, another ultimatum expired last Monday, the one given to the almost 50,000 public employees in the health sector in New York City, where around 5,000 had not received any doses.
On the other hand, there have been protests in the city with people arguing that vaccination should be a personal choice and not an imposition by the authorities.