Republican councilmember Vickie Paladino was barred from entering Council chambers last week over her refusal to reveal her COVID-19 vaccination status. In a recent interview, she compared the requirement to Nazism. “I don’t need to show you my papers. This isn’t Nazi Germany,” Paladino said in an interview with NY1 that aired Monday.
City Council members and their staff are required to show proof of vaccination as city employees, consistent with the city’s rules governing a variety of indoor settings. “You can get vaccinated all you want. I can get vaccinated all I want. It’s just nobody’s business whether I am or not. See, it’s called medical freedom,” she said. Paladino was sworn into office this month after flipping the Democratic-held 19th District seat in Queens in November.
Paladino later apologized for the Nazi Germany comparison, issuing a statement Tuesday calling her words a “mistake.”
Last week, the City Council voted to elect its new Speaker, Democrat Adrienne Adams, the first Black councilmember to serve in the role. Paladino, who wasn’t allowed on the floor, cast her vote for Adams remotely from Republican minority leader Joe Borelli’s office.
“Rather than force a spectacle on the council floor, I met with my GOP conference as well as Adrienne Adams and explained that out of respect for her nomination to Speaker, I would not cause an issue today. She and I had a great conversation and I look forward to working with her,” Paladino said in a tweet.
She continued, “I also made it clear that this courtesy would only be for today, and that I will fight the mandates with every resource available. Not just the council mandates, but throughout the city. Going forward, if anyone has a problem with me in the chamber, they will have to remove me.”