NYC ending COVID-19 vaccination mandate for city employees

Councilmember Diana Ayala hosts a rapid COVID-19 testing event.
Photo Gerardo Romo, NYC Council

NEW YORK (AP) — New York City is ending its COVID-19 vaccination mandate for municipal employees including police officers, firefighters and teachers, Mayor Eric Adams announced Monday.

The vaccine mandate, which led to the firing of hundreds of city workers who declined to get the shots, will end on Friday, the Democratic mayor said in a news release.

Adams said that with more than 96% of city employees and more than 80% of city residents having received their initial vaccine series, “this is the right moment for this decision.”

City Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan said, “It’s clear these mandates saved lives and were absolutely necessary to meet the moment. We’re grateful that we can now, as we leave the emergency phase of the pandemic, modify more of the rules that have gotten us to this point.”

The vaccination mandate for city employees was one of the last COVID-19 measures still in place in New York City. The city ended its vaccine requirement for employees of private businesses in November 2022, and masks are now optional in most public spaces including subways and buses.

The approximately 1,780 workers who have been terminated for failing to comply with the municipal employee vaccination requirement will not get their jobs back automatically but can apply for positions with their former agencies, city officials said.