Boston Residents Chant 'Shame on Wu' Outside City Hall in Protest of Vaccine Mandates

On Monday, Boston became the latest major U.S. city to implement a vaccine mandate for public venues—sparking protests at Boston City Hall—as coronavirus cases continue to rise across the country.

Boston joins several other cities, including New York and Los Angeles, in requiring people to be vaccinated to go to places like indoor dining, gyms and entertainment venues. The mandate will go into effect January 15, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu said during a press conference.

"Today we are facing another winter surge with the Omicron variant," Wu said. "But there is a key difference between last winter and today. Today, vaccines are available for every adult and even children as young as five years old."

Wu added that she believes it's time to "follow the science and public health data to ease" the burden of essential workers.

Initially, only one dose of the vaccine will be required. But by February 15, residents who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine will need to have both doses, Wu said.

Some Boston residents protested the mandate during the press conference, chanting "shame on Wu" at Boston City Hall, WBZ-TV reporter Lisa Gresci tweeted.

As the protests continued, Wu added: "Welcome to the people's building. I just want to emphasize there is nothing more American than coming together to ensure we are taking care of each other."

The national surge in COVID-19 cases has hit Boston. On December 14, the city reported a 7-day average of 369.9 new cases per day, up from an average of 143.7 one month earlier, according to the city's COVID-19 dashboard.

Many Bostonians have already been vaccinated against the virus. As of December 14, 68.4 percent of residents were fully vaccinated with another 10.4 percent partially vaccinated, according to the city's health department.

The Boston mandate comes as health experts warn the Omicron variant is likely to further add to the rising number of COVID cases in the U.S. National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins warned Sunday that the U.S. could reach as many as one million cases per day due to the variant.

Other cities have also enacted or expanded a vaccine mandate in light of the rising case count and Omicron.

One week earlier, Philadelphia announced a similar mandate that will go into effect on January 3. "We just don't want to go back to where we were a year ago and it's really not that much of a burden to ask people to be vaccinated, which I don't understand why anyone wouldn't get vaccinated," Mayor Jim Kenney said.

Meanwhile, in New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced earlier in December that the city's vaccine mandate would be expanded to children ages 5 to 11.

Michelle Wu Announced Boston Vaccine Mandate

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu, above on November 2, announced on Tuesday that vaccines would be required for some public venues in the city, sparking protests from some residents. Allison Dinner/Getty Images