© Reuters. A sign reading “Vaccinate New York” is seen at the New York State Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Vaccination Site at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City, USA. January 13, 2021. REUTERS / Brendan McDermid
By Gabriella Borter and Maria Caspani
NEW YORK (Reuters) – New York City will require city workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in mid-September or undergo weekly tests, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Monday, as authorities across the The country has stepped up promotion of the vaccine to try to stop a wave of infections caused by the Delta variant.
Mayor de Blasio’s announcement, which affects more than 300,000 municipal workers and sets a vaccination deadline for September 13, comes a week after the city approved a vaccination mandate for all healthcare workers in city-run hospitals and clinics. Across the city, approximately 59% of the population is vaccinated against COVID-19.
“It’s about protecting the workforce, their health and safety and the people they serve,” de Blasio told reporters Monday.
Federal and local officials are sounding the alarm about an increase in COVID-19 cases and are racing to control infections before the start of the school year.
The highly communicable Delta variant of COVID-19, which was first found in India earlier this year, has rapidly increased infections in the United States after the country saw a decline in cases and hospitalizations when vaccines were on. widely available in the spring.
Due to concerns about the Delta variant, the United States will not lift any existing travel restrictions in the near future, a White House official told Reuters.
The steepest increases in COVID-19 cases are in places with lower vaccination rates. Florida, Texas and Missouri account for 40% of all new cases nationwide, and about one in five of all new cases in the United States occur in Florida, White House aide Jeffrey said last week. Zients.
Just under 50% of the US population is fully vaccinated, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The COVID-19 vaccine and testing mandates remain a point of contention and have already sparked legal opposition in the case of public universities. Opponents see them as a violation of individual rights.
But officials have justified them because the vaccines have been shown to be safe and dramatically reduce people’s risk of hospitalization and death from the virus.
Some 57 medical associations released a statement on Monday asking all long-term care and medical care employers in the United States to require their employees to be vaccinated, calling it “the logical fulfillment of the ethical commitment of all health workers put patients too “. first as residents of long-term care facilities. “
New York City’s largest public employees union, DC 37, took up a legal issue with the city’s mandate on Monday.
“If City Council intends to screen our members on a weekly basis, they must first meet with us at the table to negotiate. While we encourage everyone to get vaccinated and support measures to ensure the health and well-being of our members, weekly testing is ongoing. clearly subject to mandatory negotiations. “CEO Henry Garrido said in a statement.
De Blasio cited the Delta variant as the city’s reason for going beyond promoting voluntary vaccination.
“It was one thing to start with a strong voluntary approach in the beginning and then an incentive approach, but it’s pretty clear that the Delta variant has changed the game,” he said.
In recent weeks, government and health officials have aggressively emphasized the importance of getting vaccinated, including some Republican leaders who previously refrained from openly endorsing vaccines.
The latest vaccine data indicates that your change in tone could be changing some minds. On Sunday, the CDC reported an increase in the number of vaccine doses administered in the past 24 hours: 778,996, the highest amount administered in a 24-hour period since the United States reported 1.16 million doses administered on March 3. of July.
The number of vaccine doses administered daily peaked at 4.63 million on April 10, CDC data shows.