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Mayor Adams Relaunches $100 COVID Vaccine Incentive, Supreme Court Upholds Mandate For New York City Workers

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Thousands of New York City municipal workers stand to lose their jobs after the U.S. Supreme Court denied a request from a group of teachers to overturn the city's COVID vaccine mandate.

In order to encourage more people to get vaccinated, Mayor Eric Adams has relaunched an initiative offering $100 to any New Yorker who gets vaccinated at a city-run site before the end of February, CBS2's Christina Fan reported Saturday.

Friday was the deadline for workers to show proof of vaccination or face termination. Unvaccinated city workers rallied in front of City Hall in a last ditch effort to save their jobs.

"By the end of this day, I'm facing termination as a New York City firefighter after 16 years of service to the city and its people," Salvatore Maita said.


Maita was one of a few hundred protestors who spoke out against COVID mandates, including requiring all New York City municipal workers be vaccinated.

The Supreme Court denied a request to block the mandate after a group of teacher filed suit, arguing the mandate violated their religious freedom. Justice Sonia Sotomayor issued the decision.

"Our very freedom, our very liberties are at cost here. This is not about any vaccine, and that's why I believe I'd rather make the sacrifice of losing my job to support that cause," Maita said.

The Uniformed Firefighters Association said 12 of its members were terminated Friday and another 500 are still waiting for the city to hear their exemption cases.

The union said most of its members already had COVID.


"I will make one last plea to the mayor to accept natural immunity as an alternative to vaccination and spare the jobs of those firefighters and other New York City employees. Many, if not all, of these employees have antibodies and nothing to fear from this virus," Uniformed Firefighters Association President Andrew Ansbro said.

In October, then-mayor Bill de Blasio announced the vaccine mandate for some 370,000 municipal workers. It's now being enforced by Mayor Adams.

"It's not about termination. It's about vaccination. We want people to be vaccinated. I don't want to see the city close down against and all we can do is continue to encourage people to get vaccinated and hopefully people get the booster shot as well," Adams said.

Approximately 3,500 to 4,000 city workers remained unvaccinated when the deadline passed. The city expected the number to drop considerably by Monday.

Editor's note: This story was first published Feb. 12.

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