Finger Lakes counties on whether or not they’re considering vaccine mandates
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Rochester area communities declared themselves cautiously considering their options as coronavirus numbers tick upwards but fewer and fewer people are opting to get vaccinated.
On Monday, New York City and the State of California unveiled plans to mandate government employees get COVID shots, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday that the state is leaving that decision up to local governments.
"And we have to convince people, and put them in a car and drive them and get that vaccine in their arm,” Cuomo said in his Monday briefing. “That is the mission."
In his conference, Cuomo called on local governments to push more people to get COVID-19 shots.
Rochester area communities say they are seeing vaccinations drop off.
"Forecasting out, we just got a trickle of vaccinated employees be on a certain level,” said Ian Coyle, Livingston County Administrator. “We’re not going to get 100%. Not in some cases even going to get to 75% of certain areas."
Mayor Bill De Blasio announced Monday that New York City will now mandate 340,000 city workers, get vaccinated or get regular tests. And starting next week, the State of California will require its employees to prove they’re vaccinated or be tested.
"I think the localities should take this very seriously and I would urge them to take significant action, now,” Cuomo exclaimed. “Now.”
In Ontario County, Administrator Chris DeBolt said the county is following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and New York State guidance, and not forcing anyone to get shots, especially since the vaccines don’t have full U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval yet, but that it’s still offering clinics for skeptics who come around and decide to be vaccinated.
Wayne County Administrator Rick House said there have been no discussions of mandatory shots, considering that the whole county only has 12 known new cases.
Administrator Ian Coyle in Livingston county agrees, saying it’s a matter of discretion.
“We are not in a pressure, push, kind of atmosphere,” Coyle explained. “If they want to get vaccinated, they can.”
A brand new letter from more than 50 medical groups calls for health care employers to require their workers to be vaccinated.
NYC teachers unions agree while the firefighters union opposes the idea.
Rochester’s school service workers union, BENTE, said it’s waiting to see if any mandates come.
"I think we are striking the appropriate balance,” Coyle said. “As far as offering the vaccine, making it available, having operational changes as we felt like we needed them."
All of the COVID-19 vaccines being administered in the U.S. still only have emergency use authorization, not FDA approval, but after millions of people have been getting them for months, some industry watchers expect they will get that final OK from the FDA In the next few weeks.