New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday that anti-vaccine voices are “criminal” at this juncture in the pandemic, as the country fights a fast-moving coronavirus variant and schools get ready to reopen.
“What they are doing to this country is undermining our future. They really are. They’re taking away the future of this country, because if we go backwards, if we go back to restrictions and shutdowns, this country’s going to be in a horrible, dangerous place in terms of our lives, our livelihoods, our economy,” Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat, told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “And if we don’t get it right on vaccination, we’re going to lose a huge number of Americans.”
Mr. de Blasio also defended private employers who demand proof of COVID-19 vaccination from employees one day after he said more than 300,000 city workers must be vaccinated by mid-September or face weekly testing.
“If people say they believe in American values of liberty, and then they tell someone, a mom-and-pop business, you know, we’re going to cancel you because you want to keep safe or you want to protect your community, I would put that right squarely in the un-American category,” he said.
Mr. de Blasio’s administration is among a series of government entities getting tough on vaccines instead of relying on voluntary actions.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday said state workers and all health workers must get vaccinated or face regular testing, while the federal Department of Veteran Affairs said its doctors and health staff must get vaccinated within eight weeks.
“We tried voluntary,” Mr. de Blasio said. “You know, we could not have been more kind and compassionate as a country. Free testing, everywhere you turn, incentives. Friendly, warm embrace. The voluntary phase is over.”