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NYC Public Hospitals, Department Of Health Will Require Weekly COVID Tests For Unvaccinated Workers

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Mayor Bill de Blasio is taking action to make sure city workers are getting vaccinated.

It's the first vaccine crackdown of its kind for New York City.

"What more do we have to do here at this point? This is getting insane," de Blasio said Tuesday.

The exasperated mayor has run out of patience with the slow pace of vaccinations.

"So we've been really nice, really communicative, really respectful. I'm like, c'mon people, it's time to step forward, and we're gonna make that clear," de Blasio said.


As CBS2's Dick Brennan reports, the mayor announced all unvaccinated workers at New York City public hospitals will have to take a COVID test each week.

Some 70% of hospital workers are believed to be vaccinated in the city, but that's not enough for the mayor, and this mandate could be the first of more to come.

The mayor's office confirmed the policy will begin in August.

It also goes for any unvaccinated staff members at the Department of Health.

A one-time proof of vaccination will have to be submitted to skip the testing.

"This is a good first step that's been announced this evening," said Mark Levine, the chair of the City Council's committee on health.

He says he supports the mayor's move, but he would like to see more measures.

"I think we should follow the lead of other cities like Los Angeles that are asking people when they are in those kind of crowded indoor spaces when there's no screening for vaccination to put their masks back on," Levine said.


The move comes as the Delta variant is exploding across the country, and a new report suggests the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is less effective against it, with antibody levels five to seven times lower when exposed to the variant..

"The Delta variant now represents 83% of sequenced cases," said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Health experts still aren't sure whether a booster for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be needed.

All of the Yankees players who tested positive for COVID-19 last week got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which baseball teams favored because of their complicated travel schedules.

Editor's note: This story was first published on Tuesday, July 20.

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