NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mayor Bill de Blasio is pushing for private companies in New York City to require COVID vaccines for their employees.
Researchers working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expect the fourth wave of COVID cases to peak across the United States by October.
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To combat vaccine hesitancy, de Blasio says New York City has tried the “nice guy” approach of offering incentives, but now it’s time to resort to vaccine mandates.
A new poll from the Associated Press found 81% of unvaccinated Americans are either definitely not or probably not willing to get the shot.
The Republican governor of Alabama, the state with the lowest vaccination rate at about 40%, had harsh words as COVID cases climb.
“It’s time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks, not the regular folks. It’s the unvaccinated folks that are letting us down,” Gov. Kay Ivey said.
Here in New York, 67.7% of adults statewide are fully vaccinated, but de Blasio says he believes we’ve reached the limits of a purely voluntary system.
“I urge every employer, go to whatever form of mandate you are comfortable with because it will help us fight COVID, and if we do that, we could actually live again fully. This is where I can call the ideological debate and everything else needs to be thrown aside,” he said Friday.
De Blasio has already mandated city hospital and health clinic workers to get vaccinated or tested once a week, and he’s hinting a mandate for more city workers, like police and public school teachers, may be coming soon.
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New Yorkers who spoke to CBS2’s Ali Bauman had mixed opinions on possible mandates.
“I definitely think the city employees should be mandated to get vaccines,” said Upper West Side resident Tom Guthrie.
“I would rather everybody decide to have that for themselves if they wanted to,” Queens resident Jada Clinton said.
“I think it’s a good idea to keep people safe, especially people who have more contact with people in their work environment,” Manhattan resident Tony Lamour said.
When asked about the idea of mandating vaccines for indoor dining, as France is doing, de Blasio said, “I think that’s a direction we need to seriously consider. I think there’s a lot to be said for that.”
“I don’t think it should be mandatory,” Upper West Side resident Patricio Alguilar said.
“I think that’s fair because you choose if you want to dine out, so if you want that advantage, you get vaccinated,” another person said.
The Police Benevolent Association maintains that, “Vaccination is a personal medical decision that each member should make in consultation with his or her own doctor.”
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So far, the teachers’ union has not commented.