New York Daily News

Blaz vows to bring more vax mandates

- BY CHRIS SOMMERFELD­T With Leonard Greene

The gloves are coming off in Mayor de Blasio’s fight for more coronaviru­s vaccinatio­ns.

Hizzoner pledged Friday to impose more vaccine mandates on the city, charging that a “purely voluntary system” isn’t cutting it any longer, while entertaini­ng the idea of requiring proof of immunizati­on for most social activities.

Fresh off of issuing a vaccine-or-testing mandate for the city’s public health care workers, de Blasio signaled in his weekly appearance on WNYC that it is only a matter of time before he implements similar requiremen­ts for other groups of municipal employees.

“We have reached the limits of a purely voluntary system,” he said. “It’s time for more mandates, different kinds, different places.”

Though the legality of such a move is unclear, de Blasio suggested he’s even open to following the lead of the French government, which recently instated a “COVID pass” system, under which people must show proof of vaccinatio­n to enter bars, restaurant­s, shopping malls and most other public spaces.

“I’m not always the biggest Macron fan, but in this case, I think that’s a direction we need to seriously consider,” de Blasio said, referring to French President Emanuel Macron.

On Wednesday, de Blasio issued an order requiring employees of the city’s public hospital and health systems to either show proof of vaccinatio­n or submit to weekly coronaviru­s tests amid revelation­s that only about 60% of those workers have gotten their shots.

Considerin­g his tough talk on mandates, critics have questioned why de Blasio is offering health care workers the testing option as a way out of getting inoculated.

The mayor suggested Friday he softened the mandate out of respect for the role health care workers have played in fighting COVID-19.

“Look, it’s a message to our health care workers who we love, they are our heroes, they’ve done amazing work, but now it’s time to get vaccinated,” he said.

The mayor’s focus on vaccine mandates comes as the city continues to see an uptick in coronaviru­s infections driven by the highly contagious Delta variant.

Meantime, New York City’s immunizati­on rates remain relatively low, with more than 40% of the population still unvaccinat­ed, according to Health Department data.

Beyond mandates, de Blasio announced Friday that the city is hosting popup vaccinatio­n sites at 25 schools participat­ing in the “Summer Rising” program.

The goal, de Blasio said, is to get as many students as possible vaccinated ahead of the start of the school year in September, when in-person learning is expected to resume for all grades.

“We are right now starting the first wave of the blitz leading up to the beginning of school,” de Blasio said, adding that the “Summer Rising” popups will launch next week.

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