NEW YORK CITY, New York: Due to the upswing in the spread of the Covid Delta variant, New York City will require COVID-19 vaccinations or weekly tests for all health workers employed at city-run hospitals and clinics.
In making the announcement, Mayor Bill de Blasio said the policy will go into effect on August 2.
He also said New York City will suspend without pay any employee who refuses to either be vaccinated or tested.
"Because of the Delta variant, increasingly the choice is between infection or vaccination, and that can mean the difference between life and death," Dave Chokshi, the city's health commissioner, said at the same briefing.
According to officials, some 60 percent of the more than 42,000 employees of New York City's public hospital system are vaccinated.
The percentage of New York public hospital workers who are fully vaccinated is lower than the percentage of the city's adult population, which stands at 65 percent.
The announcement marks the first time City Hall has mandated vaccinations or testing for public-sector workers.
Similarly, San Francisco announced in June that all municipal workers in "high risk" settings, such as homeless shelters and jails, will have to be vaccinated by September 15.
De Blasio has not ruled out taking additional measures if the Delta variant continues to spread.
Meanwhile, the Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Rochelle Walensky, revealed last week that 97 percent of people entering hospitals in the United States with COVID-19 are unvaccinated.