The new policy – covering all 11 public New York City-run hospitals, including nursing homes and clinics – will go live on 2 August.
“The delta variant continues to make more and more trouble, and we’ve got to fight back,” said the mayor on Wednesday. “We need a strong, clear approach – that every single one of our workers gets vaccinated or tested weekly.”
Healthcare workers will be expected to show proof of vaccination or a negative test result to continue to work.
“Every single one of those employees has a choice,” said de Blasio. “This is about keeping people safe and stopping the Delta variant.”
According to New York State figures, approximately 74 per cent of New York State’s hospital workers have been vaccinated and around 70 per cent of New York City’s hospital workers have been vaccinated.
That figure drops to about 50 per cent when you look at the whole country, claims Mr de Blasio. “We have 22 million healthcare workers in the United States and, by the information we have, only about 50 per cent are vaccinated. This is unacceptable,” the mayor said to CNN after his announcement.
The mayor has been hesitant to mandate vaccines. This new policy is a step, said Mr de Blasio: “Now it’s time to up the ante … I’d like to see this happen all over the country, in private hospitals and public hospitals. We need our healthcare workers to be vaccinated.”
More than 9.7 million doses of the Covid vaccines have been given in New York City so far. The state has encouraged the public to get the jab with incentives like lottery tickets, free joints and Shake Shack burgers or by going to unusual vaccination centres – like the Empire State Building Observatory or the American Museum of Natural History.
The strongest update of the vaccine is among residents in the 65 to 74-year-old bracket, with 82 per cent having had at least one dose and 77 per cent being fully vaccinated.
Around 49 per cent of the entire US population is fully vaccinated, and 338 million doses have been administered nationwide.
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