NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Union workers protested outside City Hall on Wednesday against vaccination mandates requiring them to get a COVID-19 shot or risk losing their jobs.
The latest numbers from New York City show that nearly 97% of people hospitalized with coronavirus right now are unvaccinated.
Of New York City's entire municipal workforce, the NYPD has among the lowest vaccination rates at just under 50%.
But effective next month, every city worker -- from police officers and firefighters to office workers, public schoolteachers and hospital staff -- must be vaccinated or submit to weekly COVID-19 testing.
Union leaders have encouraged vaccination -- but many are pushing back against mandates.
Mayor de Blasio on Wednesday expressed confidence that his workforce will come around.
"That's part of what we're bargaining with the unions over, and that's what impact bargaining is all about," de Blasio said. "That's what we started already with the unions in the schools. We want to sort out those details but quite confident we can, one way or another."
It all comes as the original COVID-19 virus has mutated into the delta variant. It spreads faster and is now the main source of infection in New York-even causing illnesses in a small percentage of fully vaccinated people.
But the statistics are revealing: The unvaccinated (or not fully vaccinated) account for 96% of New York's COVID-19 cases, 97% of hospitalizations and 97% of COVID-19 deaths. While the fully-vaccinated account for one third of one percent of cases, and an even tinier percentage of hospitalizations and deaths.
"The data that we're presenting today is real world and rigorous, but beyond the facts and figures," said NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi. "Here's the common sense, bottom line, vaccines, keep you alive, and out of the hospital."
As demonstrators gathered outside City Hall, there was greater resistance to the mandates than there was to the vaccine.
"It's against my belief system to get this vaccine into me, I have never gotten a flu shot," said NYC public schoolteacher Lynda Stroh. "I keep myself healthy I should not be forced -- my job should not be dependent on me getting a vaccine."
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