KEARNY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says nearly all COVID hospitalizations and deaths are among people who have not received the coronavirus vaccine.

Now the push to boost vaccination rates is accelerating in the Tri-State Area, CBS2’s Kevin Rincon reported Monday.

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It used to be a supply issue, but now it’s more about demand for the vaccine.

New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are racing to get more people protected from COVID while cases of the Delta variant rise.

The vaccine was optional for New York City workers. But not anymore.

“If you are unvaccinated and you are a city employee, beginning on Monday you must either wear a mask indoors at your worksite at all times or, if you’d prefer not to, you must immediately go get vaccinated,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday.

By mid-September, the entire city workforce will need to be vaccinated or get tested weekly.

“This is about our recovery. This is about what we need to do to bring back New York City. This is about keeping people safe,” de Blasio said. “This is about making sure our families get through COVID OK. This is about bringing back jobs. You name it.”

COVID VACCINE

In the Bronx, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced $15 billion in new funding that will go to six statewide community groups. They’ll go door-to-door trying to get more people to get the vaccine, with two goals in mind:

“Target the communities that have high COVID spread and a low vaccination rate,” said Cuomo.

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In Connecticut, Gov. Ned Lamont said he’s not considering any new restrictions. But he is concerned about cases trending upwards. Lamont’s plea is get the vaccine.

“It’s not just about you, it’s about all the people you’re in contact with,” said Lamont.

In New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy is also hesitant to bring back restrictions, including the mask mandate. Murphy said it’s not time for that yet, but acknowledged cases are rising and things need to change.

“Please get vaccinated. The more people we get vaccinated, the easier these decisions are going to be and the fewer public health parameters we’re going to have to put in place,” Murphy said.

Several people outside the Tick Tock Diner in Clifton told Rincon they are vaccinated and still keep a mask handy.

“I feel comfortable wearing the mask and everything, protects my son and protects everybody else,” one person said.

“It’s not hard, it’s not a big deal. The mask isn’t killing you. It’s not doing anything,” said another.

“No matter how vaccinated you are, I still feel strongly you should always wear your mask to protect you and the public as well. Better be safe than be sorry,” another person said.

A message that’s been echoed throughout the area is the need to make people aware of where vaccines are available, since the mega sites are no longer open.

Many pharmacies are now offering the vaccine – and the lines aren’t long!

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CBS2’s Kevin Rincon contributed to this report.

CBSNewYork Team