New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced on Monday that all workers in certain state-owned and private health care facilities, or high-risk congregate settings would be required to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus. Those workers who aren’t fully vaccinated can continue to work with regular COVID-19 testing.
When justifying the mandate, Murphy, a Democrat, said in a statement that “some of our most vulnerable populations remain at risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19 primarily due to exposure to unvaccinated individuals.”
“We are taking this step today because it has been proven time and time again that vaccines save lives and are our way out of this pandemic. Individuals in health care facilities should have confidence in their caretakers,” Murphy added.
“Vaccination is the best tool we have to end this pandemic,” said New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli.
Murphy said he hopes the mandate will encourage more workers to take up the vaccine, and that the New Jersey government is “prepared to consider additional measures” if an increase in vaccination uptake in those facilities is not satisfactory.
All workers in the health care facilities and other settings covered by the mandate will have until Sept. 7 to get vaccinated or be required to be tested for COVID-19 at a minimum of one to two times per week, the governor stated. Employers will be responsible for implementing the testing programs.
This measure says employers can choose to retain or implement stricter policies to mandate vaccination as a condition of employment without the option for regular testing.
Settings at higher risk of severe illness from the CCP virus, such as Veteran’s Homes overseen by the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, are encouraged by the state government to implement a more aggressive testing schedule of unvaccinated workers, even three times a week, the statement said.
“Private facilities are strongly encouraged to consider instituting requirements above and beyond the baseline that will be required by the state.”
Among the state facilities impacted by the mandate are psychiatric hospitals, veteran’s homes, developmental centers, and correction facilities. Private facilities include long-term care and assisted-living facilities, jails, acute-care and specialty hospitals, in-patient rehabilitation centers, behavioral facilities, and home health agencies.
As of July 30, more than 57 percent of over nine million New Jerseyans have been fully vaccinated.
The number of new COVID-19 daily cases in the state during the last week ranged from 594 to 1,017, and the number of daily lab-confirmed deaths varied between two and nine, according to state health data.