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Over a year ago, the pandemic sent young New Yorkers to pack. However, after the spread of the vaccine began in mid-December, COVID-19 rates began to falland reached an all-time low at the end of June 2021.
Today, young New Yorkers began to breathe life back into the city. But as vaccination rates are slow and varieties run wild, new policies starts life again – especially for those who are young and unvaccinated.
Monday marked the first day in the entire city vaccination mandates were enforced. The city deployed inspectors to ensure that restaurants, bars, gyms, entertainment venues and other indoor venues checked their workers and customers’ vaccine cards before they were allowed to enter.
That Key to NYC the policy states that all customers aged 12 years or older must present proof of at least their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine when entering indoor dining, entertainment facilities and gyms. Mayor Bill De Blasio announced the new policy on August 17, giving businesses nearly four weeks to prepare the claims.
“I think it’s a really good mandate because we can not force people to be vaccinated, but we can say ‘you can not go to these restaurants’, so it’s a good way to motivate people who are insecure. to get the vaccine but want to go out to eat and go to Broadway, ”said Clara Plutzer, a 21-year-old student at New York University.
The new policy came after data still showed young New Yorkers hung well after elderly residents for vaccination rates.
“I’m pretty sure this is going to motivate a lot of people to get vaccinated, especially young people,” Blasio said in August. “We know one of the biggest areas of concern is reaching younger New Yorkers.”
63% of New York City adults aged 18 to 24 are fully vaccinated, and 64% of adults aged 25 to 34 are fully vaccinated. However, all other age groups, except the 85 and older, have 10% more fully vaccinated individuals, according to data from New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
Freedom in the city
Some young New Yorkers said they are convinced they can still have fun in the city without being vaccinated. But others who were not so sure received the vaccine in exchange for the freedom to experience the city fully.
Bri Frei, a 29-year-old New Yorker who makes and sells jewelry, said she has not been vaccinated for anything in the past five years. But Frei said there are enough places in New York for her to still enjoy herself without being vaccinated.
Plutzer was a young New Yorker who was vaccinated to make sure she wanted freedom.
“I wanted freedom and did not feel like I could not go places,” Plutzer said.
Plutzer, like many other young New Yorkers, was vaccinated before the key to NYC policy was announced.
“Getting vaccinated was less about COVID and more about being young in New York and wanting to go and do things,” Plutzer said.
Young New Yorkers received the vaccine for several common reasons: their parents made them, they wanted to protect immunocompromised family members and people, have an extra layer of protection for themselves, their school required it, or because of their jobs.
Since the key to the NYC policy went into effect on August 17, a total of 597,807 doses has been administered in New York City.
In the week that the new policy was adopted, between August 14 and August 20, 43,711 vaccine doses were administered to young adults in New York aged 18-24 years. Between August 28 and September 3, 54,242 doses were administered. While doses initially increased among this age group following the key to NYC policy, only 46,238 doses were administered between September 4 and September 10.
There was a similar trend among the 25-34 age group, with vaccine doses initially rising after the key to NYC policy came into force, but between September 4 and 10, doses began to level off again.
Others plan to get it soon.
“I just do not have time, but when I have to, I do,” said Janiya Wong, 17. Without proof of vaccination, she has already been rejected by some companies. She said this new policy “just does not sit right” with her.
Bruke A., a 20-year-old student at Parsons School of Design, said he also has mixed feelings about the mandate.
“I think that (the mandate) is fair,” Bruke said. “It (the mandate) is not necessarily an incentive, but it is another way for the public to get on board with it (the vaccine). I have a kind of mixed feelings. I support it, but I can also feel for companies that may lose business because of it and for members of the public who are unable to get vaccines excluded from these spaces. ”
Wong plans to be vaccinated if she continues to be rejected from places she wants to go to and “make me feel safer,” she said.
Crystal B., an 18-year-old student at NYU, said the mandate makes her feel safe, and she thinks it’s fair.
“In terms of justice, yes, it’s fair because it’s for the greater good to keep us as a whole safe,” Crystal said. “Individually, it may not feel reasonable, but when viewed in a broader context, it is the most reasonable thing to do for society as a whole.”
Hostility towards the unvaccinated
Frei said some of the people who control vaccination at companies have treated her differently after finding out she has not been vaccinated.
Your V., a 31-year-old vaccinated doctor, said there is a lot of shame around people not being vaccinated. People should be able to decide for themselves whether they want to be vaccinated, he said.
“Now it looks like they are being punished for their decision not to do so,” Din said.
Sherry Escamilla, a 20-year-old unvaccinated New Yorker, also spoke of this hostility. She said she thinks the mandate is “ridiculous” because it causes a separation between those who are vaccinated and those who are not.
“But even if you are vaccinated, you still have a risk of getting it,” Escamilla said. “Someone who eats inside can still get it and pass it on even if they are vaccinated.”
But New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene data show that “since mid-January, the vast majority of cases of COVID-19, hospitalizations, and deaths in NYC have occurred in unvaccinated people.”
Between January 17 and August 17, unvaccinated people in NYC accounted for 96.1% of all COVID-19 cases, 96.9% of COVID-19 hospital admissions, and 97.3% of COVID-19 deaths.
“I do not want to play with fate,” said Artem C., a 20-year-old Parsons student. “Getting vaccinated reduces my chances.”