As debates over vaccine mandates rise with increasing cases among the unvaccinated, officials are going forward with a new plan to encourage more people to get vaccinated. Governments have decided to mandate unvaccinated public employees to get regular COVID tests and wear masks until they get their shots. Officials believe that this will lead to higher vaccination rates, as people could avoid the extra rules if vaccinated. 

Barun Mathema, a professor of epidemiology, spoke about the effectiveness of the new plan. Mathema thinks it could have a bigger impact outside of the public sector when it comes to trusting the effectiveness of vaccines. He said, “This is saying the government, unambiguously, supports vaccination. One can try things like lotteries to entice individuals, but to me, this is a serious and thoughtful approach”.

NY City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that employees of the city’s public hospital would need to show proof of their vaccinations or submit a weekly test until they get their shot. The Mayor announced that exemptions may be allowed for religious and medical reasons. 

Sources stated that testing mandates will go into full effect for unvaccinated public hospital workers by next week, and for other employees on September 13, ie. the first day of school in New York.

Dr. John Brownstein, an epidemiologist, said the testing requirement will put additional pressure on unvaccinated employees to get their shots. “They’ll have to quarantine and put themselves out of two weeks of work,” he said. President Biden is expected to announce that all federal employees must show proof of vaccination or submit to regular testing as well.