Protesters March In New York City After Covid Vaccine Mandate For Public Employees Takes Effect

Protesters chanted “No vaccine mandates” and carried signs advocating for medical freedom.

By Nathan Munn 

October 7, 2021

A raucous crowd marched from Brooklyn to Manhattan in New York City on Monday to protest Covid-19 vaccination mandates for public employees, after unvaccinated teachers were denied entry to their places of employment. 

New York’s Department of Education employs around 148,000 people, of which approximately 8000 are currently unvaccinated, including some 3000 teachers. 

On Monday, unvaccinated public school employees were refused entry into their places of work, where vaccinated substitutes had been brought in to replace them.  

Stefanie Deliteris, a paraprofessional in the city’s education system, said that her and her husband, a school custodian, had both lost their jobs for not complying with the mandate.  

“I refused to get vaccinated,” Deliteris told CBS News, saying that her husband, who had spent much of 2020 cleaning up classrooms where people had tested positive for Covid, had done the same. “Now we’re both out of work. We were essential last year, and now we’re just zeroes this year.” 

Teachers Stephanie Edmonds, Gina Pilotti and Michellene Barrett also told CBS they are frustrated and saddened by the mandatory vaccination requirement. 

Opponents of the vaccine mandate say their right to medical autonomy has been taken away by authorities who have made vaccination a prerequisite for working in the school system, the healthcare system and other sectors.  

Northwell Health, the largest hospital system in New York State, recently fired 1400 unvaccinated workers.  

Schools in the New York City area are now suffering staff shortages as a result of unvaccinated teachers being relieved of their duties. A lack of school safety agents, nearly 700 of whom have not been vaccinated, is leaving schools scrambling to find replacements. 

The protest 

On Monday, demonstrators rallied in front of the Department of Education headquarters in Brooklyn before marching over the Brooklyn Bridge to Manhattan.  

Independent journalist Leeroy Johnson captured much of the protest on video, which he shared to twitter.

“Fuck Joe Biden and DeBlasio!” “Let us teach!” “No vaccine mandates!” “My body, my choice!” chanted the mixed crowd, some of whom expressed solidarity with those protesting vaccine mandates in Australia. 

At one point, several demonstrators broke off from the group and overturned a Covid-19 testing station, as a parent shuffled their kids away.