Boston’s Acting Mayor Kim Janey (D) is sending a strong signal that her city will not enact a coronavirus vaccine mandate akin to New York City, seemingly comparing the measure to “slavery.”
The New York Post reports Janey said such a requirement will have a disparate impact on minorities:
Janey — the first woman and black Bostonian to hold the office — said “there’s a long history” in the United States of people “needing to show their papers” when asked Tuesday about the mandate unveiled earlier in the day by Mayor Bill de Blasio that requires proof of vaccination to enter indoor restaurants, entertainment venues and gyms starting on Sept. 13.
“During slavery, post-slavery, as recent as, you know, what the immigrant population has to go through here, we’ve heard Trump with the birth certificate nonsense,” Janey told WCVB. “Here, we want to make sure that we are not doing anything that would further create a barrier for residents of Boston or disproportionally impact BIPOC communities.”
Janey’s remarks were met with criticism — namely from Boston City Councilor Andrea Campbell, who called the acting mayor’s remarks “dangerous.”
Janey later responded to Campbell comment in a statement to the Boston Globe: “What I said was there is a long history of asking people to show their papers,” Janey explained. “What our focus here in Boston is in making sure that everyone has access to the vaccine, making sure that we are doing everything to vaccinate our workforce in the city of Boston, making sure that our residents have access to the vaccine.”
“Earlier today, I pointed out several hurdles facing communities of color with lower vaccination rates,” the acting mayor continued. “These hurdles should not be excuses, but we must consider our shared history as we work to ensure an equitable public health and economic recovery.”
“But we are still well below threshold levels that have guided policy decisions throughout the pandemic,” she added. “Work with our business community will continue, as we learn to live with COVID-19.”
Earlier Wednesday, Andy Slavitt, former Biden White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator and former acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, predicted that New York City’s vaccine mandate will likely be “copied” around the U.S. in the future.
“Our data shows a lot of people, particularly people under 25, who have not been vaccinated, really don’t hold a strong objection,” Slavitt stated Tuesday. “They just don’t feel that it’s such a high priority in their lives. So I want to thank the mayor for his leadership today,” he said, predicting that the rest of the country will follow suit.
“I expect that over time, this will be copied around the country,” he added.