New York Educators and Healthcare Workers Share Thoughts on City’s Vaccine Mandate

New York, NY – On Tuesday August 3, 2021, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a vaccination mandate across New York City. Indoor activities such as restaurants, gyms and events will require proof of vaccination from the general public. The push for this mandate is to increase the number of people vaccinated which the mayor believes will help to ensure the people of the city are safe and healthy. I talked with my fellow New Yorkers who work in the healthcare system, education system and more to gather their thoughts on a mandatory vaccination.

Romola Hilerio- Staten Island, NY

Romola works for a psychology research lab in Manhattan and has been vaccinated since April. She agrees with the limitations behind the mandate and believes more people should look into getting vaccinated. 

“I completely understand everyone’s right to choose the vaccine when there was no FDA approval,” says Romola. “However, with FDA approval for Pfizer, I don’t fully understand the hesitation. We put medications in our bodies all the time with a plethora of side effects and we also use products/supplements everyday with no FDA approval.”

She also says businesses have the right to deny service to individuals for any reason and to hold their workers to certain expectations, outside of being discriminatory. 

“Places of employment have always had regulations and protocols that must be followed otherwise you risk termination. This is within their right as well,” Romola says. “Fighting a mandate is also an infringement on rights protected by the constitution. If you don’t want the vaccine, don’t get it but you do have to respect the mandate of workplaces, businesses and venues.”

Taylor McCarthy- Staten Island, NY

Taylor works as a special education teacher in the New York City Department of Education. Though the mandate requires teachers to be fully vaccinated upon returning to school, she had been fully vaccinated long before. “I feel like the mandate was something that I saw coming for sure, especially now that Pfizer is FDA approved,” Taylor says. 

Taylor believes mandating the COVID vaccine was the right thing to do, but understands the public’s general worries behind it. “I do understand why people are afraid or hesitant to get it though because it’s new. We don’t know all of the long term side effects.”

Alexandria Rivera- Staten Island, NY

Alexandria works as a registered nurse in a doctor’s office associated with the local hospital. Upon hearing about the vaccination mandate, she also received a letter stating all healthcare workers within the hospital’s organization must be vaccinated or risk termination. 

“I’m for the vaccine, I got it myself because I felt it was right for me, but I don’t believe in forcing someone to put anything they don’t want into their body,” Alexandria shared.

She does hope everyone will eventually get vaccinated because “the reward is greater than the risk” but she also believes everyone has the right to bodily autonomy. However, working within the healthcare system poses a bigger threat to COVID and she believes that healthcare workers should be vaccinated. 

“Realistically, healthcare workers shouldn’t expect to be able to refuse the vaccine whether they want it or not,” Alexandria said. 

The mandate is posing a tricky situation for businesses and the local community. While many New Yorkers believe the vaccination mandate will do more good than harm, some businesses fear a drop in customers. Several Staten Island business owners are suing the city over the mandate, claiming people should not be ostracized for choosing not to get the vaccine. 

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