New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ office revealed on Saturday that city officials fired more than 200 additional city employees for refusing to get vaccinated for COVID — bringing the total number of firings up to 1,752 workers.
The mayor’s office told the New York Post those numbers reflect as of July 13.
Six months ago, Adams laid off over 1,500 government employees who refused to comply with the city’s vaccine mandate Feb 11 deadline. Such employees who were let go included 914 in the Department of Education, 36 in the New York Police Department, and 25 others from the city’s fire department.
However, officials did not provide a list of departments where the city cut the additional 200 jobs.
“City workers served on the frontlines during the pandemic, and by getting vaccinated, they are, once again, showing how they are willing to do the right thing to protect themselves and all New Yorkers,” Adams said in a statement earlier this year.
Just after Adams terminated the unvaxxed city staff, he faced backlash from police and fire associations.
NBC New York reported Andrew Ansbro, president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association of Greater New York, who once estimated up to 500 firefighters would face the risk of termination due to their refusal to comply with the mandate, called out the mayor for exempting New York City-based professional athletes and performers from the citywide mandate.
“If you’re gonna force people to get vaccinated because the science changes, you also have to acknowledge that you’re allowing people to have exceptions because the science changes, and it’s no longer necessary,” Ansbro said.
Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch told NBC New York that the union has been suing the city over its arbitrary and capricious vaccine mandate.
“New York City police officers were on the street throughout the pandemic, working without adequate PPE and in many cases contracting and recovering from COVID themselves,” Lynch said. “They don’t deserve to be treated like second-class citizens now.”
Last month, Adams offered city workers who were fired due to the mandate to get rehired by the city if they showed proof of receiving one dose of the vaccine by June 30, with plans to get the second shot by Aug 15. However, the number of former employees who took Adams up on his offer remains unknown.
“Our administration is making a final effort to allow the small number of employees who have been terminated to be rehired so long as they get fully vaccinated,” a spokesman from the mayor’s office told the New York Post, adding his “goal has always been vaccination, rather than termination.”
The spokesman reports more than 97 percent of city workers were vaccinated.
As the city continues enforcing vaccines on its workers, officials announced last month the creation of the first Test to Treat program, which provides access to antiviral medications at mobile testing sites for COVID patients.
During the introduction, Adams said medication helped him survive COVID-19 when he contracted the virus last April, adding the mobile medicine site would help protect New York City against any new variants of future transmission waves.
“I said this over and over again,” he said. “COVID is a formidable opponent.”
“It pivots and shifts, and we are clear that we are going to pivot and shift with it,” he added.
Adams’ comments come aroud the same time as former White House COVID response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx admitting the vaccines wouldn’t protect against infections while promoting more testing and treatments.
“I knew these vaccines were not going to protect against infection,” Birx told Fox News. “And I think we overplayed the vaccines, and it made people then worry that it’s not going to protect against severe disease and hospitalization.”
Birx said 50 percent of people who died from the Omicron variant were older and vaccinated.
So that’s why I’m saying even if you’re vaccinated and boosted, if you’re unvaccinated right now, the key is testing and Paxlovid,” she said. “It’s effective. It’s a great antiviral.”
“And really, that is what’s going to save your lives right now if you’re over 70,” she added.
New York City employs over 400,000 residents in various government agencies. Outside of the 1,700 city staffers who were recently terminated, more than 6,000 others have applied for a medical or religious exemption from the vaccine requirement.
Those employees have yet to receive a decision.