News Release

NYC Mayor Ends Public Sector Employee Vaccine Mandate


NYC Mayor Eric Adams ended the Covid-19 vaccine mandate for public sector workers this past week.

DENIS NASH;, @epi_dude
    Nash is an epidemiologist and the executive director of the CUNY Institute for Implementation Science in Population Health. 

Nash told the Institute for Public Accuracy that Adams’s move “may send the wrong signal that people don’t need to worry about staying up to date on their vaccines––that the threat of the pandemic and the need for people to get vaccinated (and, by extension, stay up to date) has passed.” Other sectors may follow suit, becoming “more lax about vaccinations, which will contribute to chronic undervaccination at the population level, more preventable deaths in the event of a surge, and more long Covid.”

Nash also notes that it is “troubling that, despite being in a vulnerable place (with less than 20 percent of adults up to date on vaccines), there is a de-implementation of strategies like the city worker vaccine requirement, with no alternative plans for getting the city to a better place around vaccine and booster coverage.” 

The mayor gave no stated reason for the change, other than that 96 percent of city workers have received the primary doses of the vaccine. The city never adopted a mandate that would have required city workers to get boosters as they became available. Nash believes the city’s vaccine requirements “could have kept pace with the epidemiologic and scientific evidence by requiring people to be up to date,” which might have had a downstream effect on other sectors. 

Nash believes it may have been a “political decision” on the part of Adams: “a public health decision would not end a policy like that without another plan to improve and protect citizens from what remains a very real threat of a future surge… I am concerned at the lack of longer-term planning by our elected leaders and health department leadership around this.”

Nash also pointed out that the federal public health emergency declaration is set to expire on May 11, at which time it will “likely become harder and more expensive for many people to get vaccinated. So now is the time to get as many people up to date as possible, especially those who are most vulnerable.”