(JTA) — New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has a message for Jewish New Yorkers: If you want to be fully vaccinated by Rosh Hashanah, you need to get your first Pfizer shot by Monday.
“If you get the first one by Monday and then you follow up on time, you will be fully vaccinated by the start of the holiday,” de Blasio said Thursday. “So yet another incentive.” Rosh Hashanah begins on the evening of Sept. 6.
De Blasio’s comments came as the city began rolling out carrots and sticks to encourage vaccines in response to a surge in COVID-19 cases in the city driven by the Delta variant. New York City will offer $100 to anyone who gets their first dose at a city-run vaccination site, and all city workers will have to be vaccinated or go through strict weekly testing protocols.
The mayor touted the city’s star-studded “homecoming” concert on Aug. 21 in Central Park, saying tickets would be made available only to New Yorkers who show proof of having received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Paul Simon and Bruce Springsteen are among the headliners of the concert, which is meant to celebrate the city’s rebound from the worst of COVID-19.
Despite a recent poll showing Jews as the most likely of religious groups to be vaccinated, Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods tend to have vaccine rates significantly below the national average.
De Blasio stressed the importance of being vaccinated before gathering with family for the High Holidays. Last fall, COVID cases increased around the time of the Jewish New Year, likely arising from the large number of people gathering in homes and synagogues to observe the holidays.
“That’s a great thing to do looking forward to the holidays, make sure every family member who’s going to be in the room is fully vaccinated,” de Blasio said.