Cities and states that require workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 could actually increase their vaccination rates, a public health expert says.
This week, New York and California became the first states to require public employees to receive COVID-19 injections or undergo weekly tests.
dr. Barun Mathema, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, said: ABC news that this strategy may be even more effective than the vaccine lotteries that several states have tried.
He says the programs will boost vaccine confidence and encourage workers to get their injections to avoid the hassle of weekly testing.
“This is saying that the government unequivocally supports vaccination. You can try things like lotteries to entice individuals, but to me this is a serious and thoughtful approach,” he told ABC News.
‘There will [also] there are certainly people who find constant testing difficult.’
New York and California are the first states to require public employees to receive COVID-19 vaccines or be tested on a weekly basis as cases increase due to the Indian ‘Delta’ variant. Pictured: A health worker takes a nose swab to test for coronavirus in New York City, May 2020
An epidemiologist says the new rule could raise rates even higher than vaccine lotteries did, as it “says the government supports vaccination” as rates fall
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio became the first leader in the country to announce that public hospital employees must be vaccinated before extending the mandate to all city employees.
The new rule requires employees to be vaccinated before September 13, unless they have medical or religious reasons.
As of Tuesday, 70.9 percent of adults have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine and 65.5 percent have been fully vaccinated, according to the health department.
But many public health agencies have lagging vaccination rates, with the NYPD only having a 42 percent rate and the FDNY a 55 percent rate.
De Blasio said the new vaccine-or-test rule will help stop the spread of India’s ‘Delta’ variant, raising the number of cases in the city from an average of 245 earlier this month to 922 as of Sunday.
In a press conference on Monday, de Blasio said the city can impose more “mandates and measures when necessary to fight the Delta variant.”
This is about our recovery, this is about what we need to do to bring New York City back, this is about protecting people, this is about making sure our families get through COVID OK, this is about bringing back jobs, you name it,’ he added.
Hours later, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced a similar rule, giving 249,000 state workers until Aug. 9 to receive the vaccine or be tested weekly.
The number of cases in the state has increased eightfold from less than 1,000 a day to more than 7,000 in just one month.
“California is committed to weekly vaccination checks and/or testing,” Newsom said at a news conference Monday.
He adds that it could also help workers who hesitated about getting vaccinated because they don’t want to be tested every week, with cases rising eightfold in California (above)
On Wednesday, NYC’s statewide injunction was extended, with Governor Andrew Cuomo announcing that the state’s roughly 250,000 government employees will have until Labor Day — September 6 — to get vaccinated or tested weekly to keep up with their jobs. to continue working in the public sector.
Cuomo admitted this was an “aggressive move” but said “we need drastic action to get this situation under control” as the number of cases has risen 400 percent since the end of June from 200 per day to about 1,000 per day. day.
Mathema told ABC News there will be many workers who choose to be tested weekly and said state leaders should also promote vaccine education.
“I really believe this needs to be addressed with outreach, strong outreach and consistent outreach,” he said.
“We have to be tactful, show empathy and address real issues that exist: people’s concerns about the vaccine.”