NYC Mayor-Elect Adams Keeping de Blasio’s Shot Mandate

NYC Mayor-Elect Adams Keeping de Blasio's Shot Mandate eric adams speaks to press New York City Mayor-elect Eric Adams speaks at a press conference in New York on Dec. 15, 2021. (YUKI IWAMURA/AFP via Getty Images)

By Sandy Fitzgerald | Thursday, 30 December 2021 02:05 PM

Incoming New York City Mayor Eric Adams said Thursday he plans to keep the city's vaccine mandate for private-sector employees in place after he's sworn in, ending weeks of speculation after outgoing Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the mandate that went into effect on Monday and during his last week in office.

"Our focus is vaccine and testing, vaccine and testing, vaccine and testing," Adams said in a press briefing, promising to keep the rules that have angered many in the city's business sector, reports The New York Times.

Adams also on Thursday addressed the possibility for a student vaccination mandate for New York's city schools, reports WNBC in New York. Pediatric COVID-19 hospitalizations have quadrupled with the omicron variant, and Adams, a Democrat, said his administration plans to decide on a school vaccination mandate this spring.

If the mandate is ordered, it would likely take effect later this year, potentially when the next school year starts in the fall.

Adams, a former Brooklyn borough president and New York Police Department officer, will be sworn in shortly after the Times Square ball drops on New Year's Eve.

He said Thursday he'll also review adding booster shot requirements to the vaccine mandates and to push harder on the city's recovery from the pandemic.

"We can't shut down our city again," Adams said Thursday. "We can't allow the city to go further into economic despair. I want to be clear in the message about what our winter plan is going to look like."

Adams appeared in the conference with NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi, who will remain on the job until March, and incoming Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan, who will replace him in the health department.

Chokshi said the continuing mandates will focus on "compliance, not punishment."

The mayor-elect also said he has been careful about not getting too deep into the plans on the pandemic before he is sworn in because he doesn't want to confuse New Yorkers or make them anxious.

De Blasio announced the vaccine mandate policy on Dec. 6, and since that time, the omicron variant has brought record numbers of COVID-19 cases to New York City, reports The New York Times. The higher numbers have resulted in the decision to postpone the Westminster Kennel Club's January dog show, and on Wednesday, a subway line between Queens and Manhattan was shut down when too many transit workers called in sick to keep it open.

Gov. Kathy Hochul said Wednesday that on Tuesday alone, 39,591 New York City residents tested positive for COVID-19, not counting the numbers of at-home tests that revealed positive ratings that may or may not have been reported to health authorities.

Dr. Ashish Jha, the dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, said Adams is right to keep the mandate in place because vaccines are still the way to end the pandemic.

"Asking employers, private and public, to make sure their employees are vaccinated, which creates a much safer working environment, I think it’s essential," Jha said.

However, Kathryn Wylde, chief executive of the Partnership for New York City, which represents many large corporations, said it is wrong that the federal and local mandate policies are not consistent.

"For large businesses with a global and national footprint, consistency between federal policies and state and local policies on vaccine and mask mandates and COVID protocols generally is important, and the de Blasio policy is not consistent in terms of timing or terms with the Biden policy," she said.