Last Updated on February 23, 2023


COVID-19 vaccine mandates implemented by a handful of major cities across the U.S. hardly made a dent in slowing the spread of the virus, according to a study conducted by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. Researchers also explored the negative impact on unvaccinated citizens and businesses.

The study, titled “Indoor Vaccine Mandates in US Cities, Vaccination Behavior, and COVID-19 Outcomes,” examined the effectiveness of vaccine mandates in nine U.S. cities. The list included Boston, New Orleans, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles and the District of Columbia.

Mandates imposed by the cities were “arguably among the most restrictive and polarizing regulations ever enacted in the United States,” reads the study report. “Most supporters of the regulations claim that the benefits associated with the increase in vaccination rates as a result of the mandate—and its implied reduction in the spread of COVID-19—outweigh the costs of its disruptions. However, the authors find that indoor vaccine mandates had no significant impact on COVID-19 vaccine uptake, cases, or deaths across all nine cities that implemented the policy,” researchers wrote.

The study is only the latest that has yielded results in stark contrast with statements from politicians when enacting the mandates. In one example, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney stated that implementing vaccine requirements for city workers and indoor masking were ““critical to slowing the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19.”

Researchers also examined the negative effects on unvaccinated citizens of affected cities, as well as the economic toll on businesses. All told, they concluded that mandates did in fact have a “negative” effect on both.

In one example of negative effects, the study pointed to New York City, where over 90 percent of restaurants reported customer losses. The city’s vaccine mandate also led to staffing shortages in about 75 percent of restaurants. Additionally, 1,430 city workers were fired over refusal to get vaccinated, The Epoch Times reported.

Overall, the study also found that city mandates had minimal effect on overall vaccine uptake.

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