The city planned to provide substitutes for those who were unable to get them. Mayor Bill de Blasio warned that school employees not vaccinated would be put on unpaid leave. De Blasio stated that 95% of the city’s approximately 148,000 school employees had received at least one dose of vaccines as of Monday morning. This included 96% of teachers, and 99% principals.
The mayor stated that parents must be confident in the safety of their children. They entrust us to their children. This is the purpose of this mandate. Everyone in our schools has been vaccinated and this will continue to be the case.
Meisha Ross Porter, Schools Chancellor, said that she didn't know how many employees had refused the shots or been placed on leave.
De Blasio could have to make sure the mandate is implemented smoothly. He boasted about the city's track record of keeping schools open even during the most recent school year, when many districts switched to remote instruction. New York City does not offer remote instruction this year.
The largest school system in the nation is the first to require immunizations for its employees. Although the system mandate doesn't allow for a test-out option it does allow for religious and medical exemptions. Los Angeles will have a similar mandate starting Oct. 15.
Since Aug. 23, de Blasio stated that approximately 43,000 doses had been administered.
Miguel Cardona, U.S. Secretary for Education, praised the mandate to administer vaccines and said that New York City was "doing it right."
"Students must be in the classroom. They must be safe. We need to ensure that all staff are vaccinated.
After the mandate was issued, vaccination rates increased in all school job categories. District Council 37 of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, representing some 20,000 employees of the Department of Education, stated that 93% of them had provided proof of at-least one COVID-19 vaccination as of Sunday, a significant increase from 68% at September's beginning.
Officials from the union said that District Council 37 members unvaccinated can apply for a religious or medical exemption under a deal with the city. They have until Tuesday, 5 p.m.
Roxanne Rizzi is a Queens elementary school technology teacher who waited until Friday before she received her first coronavirus vaccine.
She said, "I had to do this for the financial wellbeing of my family."
Rizzi, 55 years old, had refused the vaccine after she was diagnosed with COVID-19 in November. She believed that natural immunity would provide her protection. She stated that she would continue to protest against the mandate.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people get vaccinated, even if they are already infected with the virus. According to the agency, COVID-19 vaccines provide better protection than natural immunity and prevent you from getting infected again.
People who were vocally opposed to vaccine mandates protested Monday. Social media video showed protestors marching around the city with signs that read: "Resist Medical Tyranny!"
Another video posted on social media showed protesters marching past a COVID-19 test facility's table and tent as it was being torn down.
Parents and students support the mandate to get vaccines in order to keep schools open during a pandemic.
Joyce Ramirez (28), who picked up her children from Bronx's elementary school last week, stated that it was safer for them.
Cody Miller, a fifteen-year-old sophomore at a Manhattan high school, believes all teachers should be vaccinated. The teen said, "I think they should." He was vaccinated as soon as the Pfizer shot became available for adults 12 and older. "It's so many children, it's big environment, you see?"
Mally Diroche was a Bronx parent with mixed feelings. The mother of three boys aged 3-12 years old said, "I feel like that's something they should be able make on their own." Diroche, 29 years old, said that she believes masks and other precautions are necessary to prevent the spread of the virus in schools.
The COVID-19 vaccines that are authorized to be used in the U.S. have been tested on tens or thousands of individuals and found to be safe and effective in dramatically reducing the chance of serious illness and death. More than 200 million Americans have received the vaccines. Real-world experience and extra government safety monitoring have shown that side effects are rare and that there is no risk to their health.