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Former NYC employees call on Mayor Eric Adams to follow current CDC COVID-19 guidance

New York City workers want mayor to end COVID vaccine mandate
New York City workers want mayor to end COVID vaccine mandate 01:54

NEW YORK -- Dozens of people rallied Friday outside City Hall, asking Mayor Eric Adams to end the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for city workers and give them their jobs back.

As CBS2's Andrea Grymes reported, they want him to follow updated Centers for Disease Control guidance.

There were plenty of emotions former New York City employees -- from firefighters to educators to police officers.

"This is harder than running into a burning building," ex-firefighter Bernadette Mejia said.

"We had the backs of this city and the city turned their back on us," former Department of Education paraprofessional Joy Amanda said.

"Mr. Mayor, if you care about us, tear down this mandate now," ex-cop Marjel Kola added.

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They all spoke out on the steps of City Hall, demanding Adams follow the latest CDC guidance and do away with vaccine mandates for city workers. They said they believe more than 2,000 have been terminated or put on unpaid leave.

"Remember when we were told to follow the science? Remember that? Well, what happened to that?" Queens City Councilman Robert Holden said.

Last month, the CDC eased COVID guidelines. The agency still recommends vaccination, but says "COVID-19 prevention recommendations no longer differentiate based on a person's vaccination status because breakthrough infections occur ... and persons who have had COVID-19, but are not vaccinated, have some degree of protection against severe illness from their previous infection."

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Former Mayor Bill de Blasio enacted the mandate, which has continued under Mayor Adams. A group of council members said they met with Adams about it on Tuesday.

"We had what we thought was a productive conversation. We hope he makes changes to the mandates," Staten Island Councilman Joe Borelli said.

In a statement, a City Hall spokesperson said, "We will continue to follow the advice of the health experts to guide our response to COVID-19 and ensure the health and safety of all New Yorkers."

Adams has also continued the city's private sector vaccine mandate, but has given exemptions to professional athletes and performers. The council members want the mayor to do away with that mandate, as well.

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