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NJ Mandates COVID Vaccines

All health care, state prison, and county jail workers in New Jersey will be required to get vaccinated against COVID-19 by Sept. 7, or get tested once or twice every week for the coronavirus, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday.

The mandate applies to employees of state-owned facilities, such as the state veterans’ homes, psychiatric hospitals and developmental centers, and privately owned hospitals, nursing homes, and behavioral health care facilities. 

“This mandate is the floor,” Murphy said. “If we do not see significant increases in vaccination rates among employees in these settings, we are ready and willing to require all staff to be vaccinated as a condition of their employment.”

Murphy’s goal is vaccination of 80% to 85% of New Jersey’s population, due to the extremely high rate of transmission of the delta variant of the coronavirus.

“The delta variant is more contagious and more lethal than previously thought,” he said. 

With the delta variant now dominant in the state, new COVID cases and hospitalizations have climbed rapidly. According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every county except Warren is now in the red or orange zone, with high or substantial transmission of the virus. And outbreaks in long-term care settings have increased. 

RWJBarnabas, the first of the state’s large health care employers to require vaccines for supervisors and above, fired six employees when they did not get a shot by the deadline. Now it has extended its requirement to all 35,000 employees.

Others requiring vaccination for employees include CareOne, a chain of nursing homes and assisted-living residences, Hackensack Meridian Health, Virtua Health, St. Joseph’s Health and Valley Health. 

According to the state Department of Health, a quarter of the population eligible for vaccines in the state remains unvaccinated. According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the vaccination rate for the entire population, including children who are ineligible for currently authorized vaccines, is 58.5%.  Read more 

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