Noisy NYC Anti-Vaccine Protests Are Hiding a Simple Fact

The mandates are working.

More than 26,000 of New York City's municipal workers remained unvaccinated after Friday's deadline. But the rates have surged in recent days.Seth Wenig/AP

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Rowdy protests. Trash thrown at the mayor’s mansion. Suspensions following threats to state Senate staffers. With the pushback against New York City’s vaccine mandate among a relatively small number of government employees grabbing headlines all week, it might have been easy to miss one simple fact: The mandates are working.

While 26,000 people missed Friday’s 5 p.m. deadline (and its accompanying $500 cash bonus), thousands more across city agencies were inspired to get the shot, according to data provided to Gothamist by Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office:

… the NYPD’s vaccination rate rose to 84% on Friday, up from 79% the day prior. FDNY’s rate increased to 77% from 69%. The Sanitation Department went from 67% to 77% .

Last night, the mayor announced that 91 percent of city workers now had one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, after a Saturday surge saw an additional 2,300 shots. In all, according to Gothamist, 19,000 employees joined the ranks of the vaccinated since the city did away with weekly testing as an alternative.

Still, there are holdouts—and apparent “sick outs,” especially among protesting firefighters, which have curtailed services within some firehouses in the city. “Irresponsible bogus sick leave by some of our members is creating a danger for New Yorkers and their fellow firefighters,” FDNY Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro said in a statement. “They need to return to work or risk the consequences of their actions.”

And there has been an uptick in complaints about uncollected trash in the famously trash-strewn metropolis, according to local press.

Unpaid leave for the remaining vaccine-resistant kicks in on Monday.

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