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NYC ends vaccine mandate for private sector workers, school extracurriculars

NYC mayor ends COVID vaccine mandate for private sector workers
NYC mayor ends COVID vaccine mandate for private sector workers 02:09

NEW YORK -- Mayor Eric Adams ended the COVID vaccine mandate on Tuesday morning for private sector workers, but not for city workers. That has led many to wonder what the rationale was for such a move.

CBS2's Natalie Duddridge spoke to people outside City Hall.

"City workers were mandated to take the shot or we are terminated, so why [can't] the private sector can't do the same?" retired sanitation worker Robert Atkins said.

"I think it should be the same mandate for everyone," said a person named Sunil, who works in the private sector.

Duddridge stopped more than a dozen people outside City Hall and all of them said they were vaccinated, but they also said they are trying to figure out why the city is lifting a vaccine mandate for people who work in the private sector, but not for city employees, like sanitation workers, teachers, police officers and firefighters.

"We are outraged by what is going on. The mayor has once again backed off vaccine mandates for private sector, while New York City firefighters are still facing the axe," said Andrew Ansbro, president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association.

FLASHBACKMunicipal workers demand NYC end what they call double standard and lift vaccine mandate

The vast majority of city workers got the shot as mandated at that time to save lives. At least 1,000 who refused lost their jobs, including Stephanie Edmonds, a former teacher. She said it's unfair.

"I was rejected for not having the proper vaccination requirements. Here we are nearly one year later and the mayor has decided to roll back private employer portion of the mandate. For public city employees, the mandate is still standing," Edmonds said.

On Tuesday morning, Adams got his booster from city Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan, and then they answered questions about the logic behind lifting the mandate for some and not for others.

"I don't think anything dealing with COVID makes sense. You make decisions based on how to keep our city safe, how to keep our employees operating," Adams said.

"It's important to not see these things in isolation. We're in the process of transition," Vasan added.

A handful of City Council members who call themselves the "Common Sense Caucus" said they'll continue to push the mayor to end the public employee mandate.

"Not only did he not give a good answer to justify firing people, he gave a non-answer. Because the truth is there is no difference between a firefighter going to work every day versus an office worker," Staten Island Republican Joe Borelli said.

However, one rollback most people appear to be in agreement with is the lifting of vaccine mandates for students who want to participate in extra curricular activities such as sports.

Meanwhile, the Police Benevolent Association is calling on the city to reinstate officers' jobs and settle pending lawsuits over the mandate.

The teachers union said it agrees with the mayor's office and is encouraging every eligible New Yorker to get vaccinated.

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