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New York City will require proof of vaccination for kids 5 and up

The vaccine mandate is the first of its kind in the U.S., Mayor de Blasio said.
Children's Vaccine Clinic Held At New York City Public School
New York City is the first in the nation to require proof of vaccination for private sector employees and for children to participate in certain activities.Michael M. Santiago / Getty Images

Beginning Dec. 27, New York City will require proof of COVID-19 vaccination for certain private sector employees and customers as well as children ages 5 and older.

The new vaccine mandate for private sector employees, the first of its kind in the U.S., will make proof of vaccination mandatory for employees and customers — including everyone ages 12 and up — at private indoor fitness, entertainment, dining and concert venues in the city, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today. It's estimated that the mandate will affect about 184,000 businesses in New York City, according to a press release.

Previously the city only required people to show that they'd received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine for entry to businesses such as indoor restaurants and gyms. But now they will have to show proof of both Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna doses (unless they received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson shot).

Additionally, kids between the ages of 5 and 11 will be required to be vaccinated to enter indoor entertainment, dining, and fitness businesses. They will also need to be vaccinated in order to participate in some other activities that are considered "high-risk" for COVID-19, including dance, sports, orchestra and band. Children in this age group will have to show their proof of the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine starting Dec. 14 in order to take part in those activities.

Cases of COVID-19 have been steadily rising in New York City over the past month, according to city data, particularly among those who are unvaccinated. The new mandates come a few weeks after Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine became available to younger kids and less than a week after the concerning new omicron coronavirus variant was detected in New York along with several other states.

“New York City will not give a single inch in the fight against COVID-19,” de Blasio said in a press release. “Vaccination is the way out of this pandemic, and these are bold, first-in-the-nation measures to encourage New Yorkers to keep themselves and their communities safe.”