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Why NYC and California now require public employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said the state is ‘experiencing a pandemic of the unvaccinated’

Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks in Oakland, California.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks at a news conference in Oakland, Calif., Monday, July 26, 2021. Newsom said the state is ‘experiencing a pandemic of the unvaccinated.’
Jeff Chiu, Associated Press

Public employees in California and New York City have two options — get the COVID-19 vaccine or undergo constant coronavirus testing.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and California Gov. Gavin Newsom both announced Monday that government employees would be required to be vaccinated against the coronavirus or will participate in weekly testing.

  • Around 340,000 New York City employees, including police officers and teachers, have until Sept. 13 to get vaccinated, The New York Times reported.
  • De Blasio signaled that the vaccination mandate coincides with when schools are expected to open next month, according to The New York Times.
  • California’s mandate went even further, requiring state employees and health care workers to show proof of having received the COVID-19 vaccine, reported the Los Angeles Times.

In his announcement, Newsom said on Twitter that California is “experiencing a pandemic of the unvaccinated” and that “everyone that can get vaccinated — should.”

VA requires health care workers to roll up their sleeves

The Department of Veterans Affairs also announced Monday that it would require its federal health care workers to be vaccinated in the next eight weeks. The VA is the first large, federal agency to issue such a mandate, the Deseret News reported.

  • “Whenever a Veteran or VA employee sets foot in a VA facility, they deserve to know that we have done everything in our power to protect them from COVID-19. With this mandate, we can once again make — and keep — that fundamental promise,” VA Secretary Denis McDonough said in a statement.

COVID-19 cases are on the rise

The United States has seen a dramatic rise in COVID-19 cases, largely attributed to the new, highly contagious delta variant, according to the Deseret News.

  • “Right, now we have high volumes of patients in the hospital and we’re really nervous about our COVID numbers rising because we remember what it was like when it was really bad. I fear that we’re heading there again,” Utah’s Logan Regional Hospital medical director Dr. Taki May said in at press conferences Monday, reported the Deseret News.
  • Since the beginning of the pandemic, the coronavirus has killed more than 611,000 people in the U.S., according to a John Hopkins tally.