AUDIO: Adams would mandate COVID vaccine for NYC schoolkids if FDA approves shot
By Lynda Lopez
Produced by Neil A. Carousso
NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Democratic nominee for New York City Mayor Eric Adams on Friday said he would issue a vaccine mandate for all public school students if the shot is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
In an interview with WCBS 880’s Lynda Lopez, the mayoral hopeful said that vaccine mandates are nothing new for the United States, and he believes that they are necessary to ensure the health and safety of all New Yorkers.
“This is a city and country where we do vaccinate. I was vaccinated for smallpox, for mumps, measles and so many others. We already have a system in place that states before you start school, you receive your vaccination,” Adams said. “It is to protect the child and the student population. We saw, historically, what happens when you have an outbreak of a certain type of illness that we can prevent … so I say yes, if it is FDA approved, we should also mandate it, as we mandate with other vaccinations.”
His comments came just hours after current Mayor Bill de Blasio stood by his decision not to require COVID vaccinations for school kids once they’re approved for children under 11.
“The issue that’s been raised so many times is, should there be a mandate for a child to be able to go to our schools. And I feel very strongly, our health care team feels strongly, our Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter feels very strongly our kids need to be in school,” de Blasio told WNYC on Friday. “So, I’ve said I’m not ready, nor is the Chancellor to exclude children who are unvaccinated because their parent won’t let them be vaccinated. That’s the reality. The child doesn’t get to decide, the parents have to give consent.”
The mayor noted that 75% of teenagers in the city are vaccinated and believes younger children “will be even a higher percentage ultimately.”
“But I’m not going to, certainly not at this point, I’m not going to say a child can’t come to school if they’re unvaccinated because they’ve been excluded from education for too long,” he added.
In his interview, Adams also said that he would sit down with NYPD and FDNY union leaders to issue a vaccine mandate for both departments, as well as schools.
“I believe there’s a way to work this out where we all will see the importance of having our first line workers being vaccinated,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Democratic nominee talked about the city’s Gifted and Talented program for kindergartners – which Mayor de Blasio has planned to do away with – saying he would like to preserve the program, but restructure it to make it more accessible to all New Yorkers.
“I have been extremely vociferous around the expansion of programs for accelerated learners,” he said. “I believe that we should have students opt out of the tests and not have to navigate the process to sign up for the tests. And we should not only test at 4-years-old but throughout the educational system. It is wrong and it is unfair to test the child at 4, and it will determine their entire educational career.”
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