New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a new vaccine mandate that will require all city workers to be vaccinated against the coronavirus infection or risk being placed on unpaid leave and offers a $500 incentive for some of the first to get inoculated.

The lawmaker announced the mandate on Wednesday and said that city employees owed it to their families and the people they serve to protect themselves and those around them from the coronavirus. The New York City mayor's requirement is the strictest in the country and would affect about 160,000 employees who have not yet been mandated to get the vaccine.

New York's Vaccine Mandate

In his announcement, de Blasio said that the mandate now affected all city agencies and encompassed all city workers. He noted that it was time for people to get vaccinated against the virus because public employees would be the ones to lead them out of the "COVID era."

On Wednesday, de Blasio pushed the broadest vaccine mandate that has been implemented for all municipal employees, including police officers, firefighters, and EMS. During his announcement, the New York City mayor said about 46,000 city workers have yet to get their first vaccine shots, CBS Local reported.

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The mayor's previous vaccine mandate affected teachers and healthcare workers and resulted in a massive surge in vaccinations. However, de Blasio's recent implementation has caused concern for many because of its potential to create a staffing shortage at a time when the city is still reeling from the pandemic.

In a news conference, de Blasio, who has less than three months left in office, said they needed to save lives, and vaccinations were the best way to do it. He revealed that his goal was to end the era of the coronavirus once and for all, arguing they have to keep pressing on.

Strict Implementation

The mandate has made New York one of the first major American cities to require vaccination among its entire municipal workforce without a secondary option of regular testing. Other areas include San Francisco that implemented similar mandates for its 35,000 city workers, Los Angeles, and Chicago. The latter two have been urging public workers to get inoculated, the New York Times reported.

The mayor's latest mandate also includes a $500 incentive that would be given out to municipal workers who get their vaccination shots between now and Oct. 29 at a city-run site. Mayor de Blasio praised the efficacy of the vaccines in fighting the infection and said about 96% of the city's educators and healthcare workers have already been vaccinated.

While other regions offered a secondary option of getting tested regularly, New York City did not give its workers that opportunity. "Then we said, get vaccinated or get tested -- we tried that for a while. It helped. It didn't get us far enough. Now we say, here's a mandate," de Blasio said during his announcement. The New York City mayor added that medical and religious accommodations were still in effect, CNN reported.

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