New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a vaccine mandate for all private sector employees in New York City.
De Blasio announced Monday that the "first in the nation" measure will go into effect Dec. 27. He said the move is preemptive in anticipation of a winter COVID-19 spike.
"We in New York City have decided to use a preemptive strike to really do something bold to stop the further growth of COVID and the dangers it’s causing to all of us," he said in an interview on MSNBC.
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The new initiative will require two vaccine doses for adults, which is up from the previous requirement for one dose. It will also mandate proof of vaccination with at least one dose for children ages 5 to 11 for accessing indoor dining, fitness, and entertainment.
De Blasio said the city is working with the business community to implement and enforce the measures. He said the city has seen a lot of cooperation.
"We got to put this COVID era behind us. Here's the bottom line for all of us, we've been living with this now for most of two years," he said in an interview. "Vaccine mandates in my experience are the one thing that really breaks through."
Over the weekend, the city identified eight cases of the new omicron variant in the city. The new variant was first identified in South Africa and is believed to be more transmissible and milder than the original strain of COVID-19.
De Blasio said that he assumes community spread of omicron is already in the city and has not been fully detected by the city's surveillance of COVID-19. He also said he believes vaccines have consistently been effective against new strains despite earlier concerns that they would not be.
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The city previously enacted a vaccine mandate for city workers and a vaccine ID requirement to access most indoor venues in the city.
An estimated 77.6% of the city's total population is vaccinated with at least one dose, according to data from the city's health department. For adults, that number jumps to 89.2% of the population.
This is above the national vaccination rate of 71% of the total population and 83.4% of the adult population, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.