NYC private sector vaccine mandates staying in place

New York City's new Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan says that the city's private sector vaccine mandate will remain in place indefinitely.

"Our mandates have been the most important life-saving policies that we've put into place and it's built up a wall of immunity against whatever this mandate does to change or may throw at us in the future," Vasan said at a briefing on Friday.

The news will have serious implications for not just workers in the city, but possibly also for the city's professional sports teams.

Players on the New York Yankees and the New York Mets will have to be vaccinated in order to play in home games, and the ruling will continue to keep Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving off the court in New York City.

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Dr. Ashwin said he was also keeping the city's mask mandate for children under the age of 5 in place until further notice.

"We have consistently seen disproportionate in the under-five population compared to other childhood crops," he said. "I would love nothing more than to send my son to daycare without a mask but as a scientist, as a doctor, as an epidemiologist, I want to keep him safe, especially because he's not eligible for a vaccine."

Mask mandates have been lifted for children over the age of 5 since they are eligible to be vaccinated.

The news comes as concerns continue to grow over the new omicron subvariant, BA.2, which now accounts for around 30% of new COVID cases in New York City. 

The new Health Commissioner also urged New Yorkers to get boosted if they are eligible. Just 36% of New Yorkers have gotten a booster, despite it being available for months.