Over 1,400 NYC Workers Fired for Not Getting COVID Vaccine: Mayor's Office

The office of New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced Monday it had fired 1,430 city workers on Friday because they failed to comply with the COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

The office told the New York Times that of those, 914 worked for the Department of Education and 101 for the city's Housing Authority. The terminations came despite several other U.S. cities moving to reduce COVID-19 regulations.

The mandate, introduced by Adams' predecessor Bill de Blasio in October, required the employees to get vaccinated by February 11, according to New York's WCBS-TV. The Times reported at the time of their termination, all but two of the employees had already been put on unpaid leave.

At a news conference on February 10 in the Bronx, Adams said, "I want them to stay, I want them to be employees of the city, but they have to follow the rules."

He added that by choosing not to get vaccinated, the employees were essentially quitting because "everyone understood" the rules.

"We are not firing them," he said. "People are quitting. The responsibility is clear."

While 1,430 terminations have been confirmed so far, the Times reported on February 10 the city was poised to fire as many as 3,000 city employees. While the 3,000 people would make up less than one percent of New York City's workforce, the Times report said their firing would still constitute "the largest worker reduction in the nation in response to a vaccine mandate."

City workers gathered on February 11 to protest the firings, the New York Post reported. Cassey McFadden, who taught in New York schools for 25 years, then emerged from retirement to substitute teach amid the COVID-19 teacher shortage, told the Post the mandate and the city's enforcement of it is "shameful."

McFadden did not get the vaccine because she has severe allergies and is exercising caution but was all for the weekly testing alternative that the city stopped offering as an option. She told the Post she needed the extra substitute teaching money to "stay afloat."

"Why are they being so mean-spirited and putting people out of work when all they had to is bring back the weekly COVID testing?" she said.

Paul Schweit, an unvaccinated New York firefighter, told WCBS 25 firefighters were set to be fired on Friday.

"We're asking for the freedom to choose," he said.

The Mayo Clinic's COVID-19 map shows the average positive test rate in the state of New York has fallen back to roughly the level it was at before January's dramatic spike brought on by the Omicron variant, descending from a peak of 29.8 percent on January 10 to 6.1 percent as of Friday.

Newsweek previously reported Washington, D.C., announced indoor businesses in the city could stop verifying vaccination status in order to enter starting February 15 and would stop requiring masks in most places starting on March 1. Similar orders have been issued in Chicago, Denver and Minneapolis.

Update 02/14/22 5:50 p.m. ET: This story was updated to add more information.

COVID-19 vaccine, New York
More than 1,400 New York City employees were fired on Friday because of a failure to comply with a COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Above, Lenox Hill Hospital Chair of Emergency Medicine Yves Duroseau receives the COVID-19 vaccine from Dr. Michelle Chester at Long Island Jewish Medical Center on December 14, 2020, in New Hyde Park on Long Island, New York. Photo by Scott Heins/Getty Images