More than 100,000 New Yorkers have gotten vaccinated since the city last month began offering Benjamins for those receiving their first doses of a COVID-19 shot at its sites, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday.
“Today, we can say the incentive has worked,” de Blasio said during his daily press briefing, held remotely on Staten Island.
The city has now spent $10 million on the incentive program in which the vast majority of recipients return for their second dose, according to the mayor and city data.
“This is something we announced it feels like yesterday, and already 100,000 people have taken advantage of it, and more are coming in every day.”
The new figure comes after the mayor announced on July 28 that starting on July 30 city-run vaccination spots would doll out $100 prepaid debit cards when people were administered their first shot of a vaccine series — a measure President Joe Biden soon embraced. According to a recent Post analysis of city data, vaccinations surged 40 percent in the week after the $100 gift cards for jabs and ordered city employees to get vaccinated or face weekly testing.
In recent weeks, de Blasio has escalated the city’s vaccination campaign — increasingly mandating it in certain settings and workplaces rather than luring the unvaccinated with goodies like free sports tickets and hotel stays. The latest step in City Hall’s vaccine requirement ramp up came Monday, when the mayor announced that all Department of Education workers need to receive at least one vaccine dose by Sept. 27.
The policy sparked opposition from union leaders, who claimed the mayor can’t implement the policy without their say so.
Henry Garrido — head of District Council 37, which represents school crossing guards, lunch aides and other DOE staff — said Monday he does not believe City Hall has the legal authority “to change the terms and conditions of employment without bargaining.”
Later Monday, de Blasio responded that he acknowledged that the city would meet with unions to iron out the details of the policy and was “confused” by the opposition.
“I understand their job is to defend the interest of their unions, but I’m confused myself, because when I said this morning in the press conference, we will immediately be going to go to bargaining,” he said on NY1. “I thought that was pretty clear.”
“I don’t understand the basis for a claim,” the mayor said during Tuesday morning’s virtual press briefing. “I don’t believe a court is going to see a basis for a claim given all those facts, including that we’re bargaining immediately.”
He insisted that the city is “absolutely within our rights as an employer” to enact a vaccine mandate.
Also Tuesday, de Blasio implored the federal government to hasten and clarify its process of approving a COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11.
“This is the game changer we really need,” he said. “This should be the number one federal priority right now, [to] get the vaccine ready for 5-to-11-year-olds.”
“Give us a timeline, announce a timeline, set the goal, show the path.”
Meanwhile, de Blasio’s top doctor also instructed private employers to mandate vaccines for their workers — a move the mayor has not yet made for his own workforce.
“I call on all private sector employees to require all their employees to be vaccinated,” said health commissioner Dr. David Chokshi.
“I strongly urge CEOs and all private sector workers to do your part in the pandemic response by adopting vaccine mandates,” he said.
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