New York City’s Vaccine Mandates Are Working

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Previously vaccine-hesitant New Yorkers are not immune to the basics of behavioral theory. Following several unofficial mandates and incentives announced in the city, vaccinations in New York rose significantly toward the end of July after stalling throughout much of the summer.

According to preliminary data from the New York City Health Department, at least 79,931 New Yorkers got their first COVID-19 vaccine dose last week, a 39.5 percent increase from the number of residents who got their first shot in the first week of July. Last Friday, 15,440 people received their first dose, the highest single-day total since June 4.

The increase in new vaccinations began the week of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s July 20 announcement that workers at the city’s public-hospital system and Health Department clinics must get vaccinated or take weekly COVID tests. That week saw vaccinations increase by 7,000 over the previous seven days. The trend continued for the week of July 27, when de Blasio announced that all 340,000 municipal employees must get vaccinated or test negative for COVID on at least a weekly basis by mid-September. The next day came a sweeter incentive: $100 to any NYC resident or employee who got vaccinated at a city-run clinic. With the carrot-and-the-stick approach, there were almost 11,000 vaccinations more than the previous week.

The increased rate of shots in New York is consistent with the trend throughout the United States, as the more contagious Delta variant has spurred key conservative voices to encourage their constituents to get a shot and Democratic leaders and major industries have gone the way of the mandate. In New York City, at least, it’s likely that the brisk pace will continue, if New Yorkers who haven’t gotten the vaccine want to hang on to the relative normalcy of post-pandemic life. On Tuesday, Mayor de Blasio announced that residents and visitors over the age of 12 must show proof of vaccination to enter restaurants, bars, gyms, and movie theaters — either by showing their vaccination card or through the pending “Key to NYC Pass” mobile vaccine passport.

New York City’s Vaccine Mandates Are Working