1,400 city workers fired over vaccine mandate; NYC continues handing out free at-home tests

COVID-19 Update for New York City
NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- New York City is beefing up its push to get more people tested for and vaccinated against COVID-19.

The city will continue handing out free at-home testing kits Tuesday.

It comes as more than 1,400 municipal workers who refused to get vaccinated have been fired.

Most of those terminated had worked for the city's education department. Their union says they plan to fight the firings.

In addition, more than 9,000 municipal workers are still trying to fight the vaccine mandate based on their individual circumstances.

The free at-home testing kits are being handed out across the five boroughs, which can be picked at landmark cultural sites like the American Museum of Natural History.

In fact, there are 14 landmark city cultural sites and 27 branches of the New York Public Library, Queens Public Library and Brooklyn Public Library where weekly walk-up distributions began Monday.

"We need it, we need it in this community," library manager Virginia Quinones said. "I have seen the lines and all the urgent cares. It's not good, especially with the weather, especially with the older people. So why not have it available for them here?"

You can find a list of sites at the NYC Health + Hospitals website.

As for the push to get more people vaccinated, city health officials have brought back the $100 incentive in which anyone getting their first vaccine shot or a booster shot will be eligible for a $100 gift card.

The cards will be available at all city-run COVID vaccination sites and SOMOS community care sites.

They are available through the end of the month, and they can be used until March 31.

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