Enough. (Tom Wrobleski/Staten Island Advance)
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – Few things feel more senseless and out of touch these days than New York City’s continued vaccine mandate for private sector workers and municipal employees.
After all this time, workers are still required to be vaccinated in order to go to their offices and the city still maniacally looks to fire public employees who refuse the jab.
When will the madness end?
Let’s face it: Despite continued infections (which vaccines and booster shots utterly fail to prevent), the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic is well behind us.
Most of us have returned to our normal lives. We’re going to concerts and ballgames again. We’re going on vacation. We’re dining out and going to bars. We’re gathering with friends and family. We’re exchanging handshakes and hugs again.
For many, many people, any semblance of COVID consciousness is gone. We’re just not that worried about the virus anymore.
Some people still wear masks when out in public, as is their right, but the vast majority of us have done away with this precaution.
And many still get regular booster shots. Again, as is their right.
But many others have simply moved on.
And why not? Gov. Kathy Hochul the other day decided not to renew her pandemic emergency powers. She’s also lifted the mask mandate for public transit. Those are loud and clear messages.
Politics could be at play here, of course. Hochul is up for re-election in a tightening race and draconian pandemic measures are increasingly unpopular with New Yorkers at large.
And it doesn’t help that a Hochul donor reportedly got $637 million in state funding to provide at-home COVID tests that were priced higher than those of competitors, according to the Albany Times-Union. That’s another reason to direct the spotlight away from COVID.
Either way, the time for strict mandates is gone.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also eased up on COVID vaccine mandates, with less differentiation given between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated.
As reported by NPR, the new guidance acknowledges the high levels of virus protection in the U.S. population due to both COVID vaccinations and infections.
It confirms, if confirmation was needed, that those who have had COVID and recovered can expect some protection from severe illness even if they are unvaccinated.
New York City has also done away with some of its mandates, including the ludicrous mask mandate for city schoolchildren.
But the worker vaccine mandate remains in place. Whatever happened to following the science? It’s another of those great inconsistencies we’ve seen all throughout the pandemic, inconsistencies that have undermined public trust in the experts.
Firing public workers who have refused the jab is abominable, especially when the city bounced the very same health care and public safety workers that we all serenaded as pandemic heroes just two years ago.
Emergencies call for emergency measures. The COVID emergency is over. You don’t keep pouring on the water after the fire’s been extinguished.
Right now, the worker vaccine mandate looks as ludicrous and unnecessary and anti-science as forcing us to buy food along with our drinks was. But the city unwisely backed itself into a very tight corner by insisting on 100 percent compliance when 100 percent compliance wasn’t needed.
Mayor Eric Adams needs to end these vaccine mandates for all workers, private sector and public.
It wasn’t Adams’ mandate to begin with anyway. It was put in place by Mayor Bill de Blasio. Ending the vaccine mandate for workers was the first thing Adams should have done to set himself apart from his predecessor.
Adams can still do it. End the mandate. Rehire the fired workers. Give them their back pay. Make sure they don’t lose their job seniority.
Follow the science, Mr. Mayor. It’s the only thing that makes sense.
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