City of Rochester working to ‘evaluate and implement’ federal COVID-19 vaccine mandate


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — City of Rochester officials announced Friday that the city is “evaluating” President Joe Biden’s vaccine or test mandate for employers with more than 100 employees, but they didn’t go as far to say that the the mandate would be implemented immediately.

The City of Rochester employs approximately 3,500 people. City Communications Director Justin Roj sent the following statement to News 8 Friday:

“The City continues to help vaccinate our residents and do all we can to encourage everyone to protect themselves, our community and their circle by getting the proven safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines. The administration will work with its senior management team, human resources department and the leadership of our employee unions to evaluate and implement President’s Biden’s mandate. We will share more details after we have time to deliberate on how to best move forward.”

President Joe Biden announced sweeping new orders Thursday that will require employers with more than 100 workers to mandate immunizations or offer weekly testing. The new rules could affect as many as 100 million Americans, although it’s not clear how many of those people are currently unvaccinated.

Large swaths of the private sector have already stepped in to mandate shots for at least some of their employees — like University of Rochester, the region’s largest employer — but Biden said Thursday that “many of us are frustrated with the nearly 80 million Americans who are not fully vaccinated.”

Under Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New York mandated that all state employees get vaccinated, or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing.

Monroe County has not announced their plans for Biden’s vaccine mandate as of Friday.

Half of American workers are in favor of vaccine requirements at their workplaces, according to a poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Such mandates have already been gaining traction following the Food and Drug Administration’s full approval of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccines from Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are available under emergency authorization, but haven’t been formally approved.

About 59% of remote workers said they favor vaccine requirements in their own workplaces, compared with 47% of those who are currently working in person. About one-quarter of workers — in person and remote — said they are opposed.

More than 177 million Americans are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, but confirmed cases of the virus have shot up in recent weeks. They’ve now reached an average of about 140,000 cases per day. On average, about 1,000 Americans dying from the virus daily, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As of Monday in Monroe County, 453,073 residents were fully vaccinated and 484,419 had received at least one dose — 65.2% of the county population.

Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.

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