A new study from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University concluded that COVID-19 vaccine mandates in nine major cities did not appear to make a difference in terms of curbing cases deaths from the pandemic.
The study examined mandates and statistics from Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington, D.C.
“We find no evidence that the announcement or implementation of indoor vaccine mandate in the cities listed had any significant effect on vaccine uptake, COVID-19 cases, or COVID-19 deaths, and this is largely consistent for all US cities that implemented the mandate,” said a working paper on the study, titled, “Indoor Vaccine Mandates in US Cities, Vaccination Behavior, and COVID-19 Outcomes.”
The authors, Vitor Melo, Elijah Neilson, and Dorothy Kemboi, noted that vaccine mandates were among a number of measures used with the intention of reducing the spread of COVID-19 and deaths from the illness. As a result, they said, “[m]illions of people were prevented from entering restaurants, bars, gyms, theaters, sports arenas, and other public indoor areas without proof of COVID-19 vaccination,” with people and businesses facing “large disruptions.”
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In New York City, 1,430 city employees were terminated for not following the mandate, and most restaurants lost customers and staff.
“Most supporters of the mandates claim that the associated increase in vaccination rates, and its implied reduction in the spread of COVID-19, outweigh the cost of the disruptions. However, we find that the effects of the mandates on their intended outcomes are not statistically noticeable in any of the cities they were implemented in all empirical strategies used,” they said.
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A key reason for why city-wide mandates were not effective, the study found, is that they are too easy to get around. Unlike country-wide mandates imposed in Europe, people can get by unvaccinated in cities with mandates by simply traveling to a neighboring city.
“COVID cases were not affected by the mandate, COVID deaths were not affected by it, and people were not more likely to get vaccinated at all in the first place,” Melo said, according to Fox5DC.
In contrast, the working paper noted that other studies have shown that country-wide and province-wide mandates in Europe and Canada were effective in terms of resulting in more people getting a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. The authors also pointed out that by the time the studied cities implemented their mandates, a significant percentage of their populations had already been vaccinated.
“The idea behind the mandate is more people are gonna get vaccinated, therefore we’re gonna reduce the spread of COVID,” Melo said. “That first step really didn’t happen.”
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