New Jersey to Require COVID-19 Vaccinations for Healthcare Workers, Employees in Other High-Risk Settings

By: Michael Mandarino, Follow South Jersey Managing Editor

TRENTON, N.J. — On Monday, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced that those who work in healthcare and other high-risk congregate settings will be required to receive their COVID-19 vaccinations or face regular testing.

If employees at certain healthcare and high-risk facilities aren’t fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by September 7, they’ll be subject to “at minimum one to two” COVID-19 tests per week. The state said that unvaccinated employees at Veterans Affairs facilities could be subject to three COVID-19 tests per week, and private-sector locations that fall under the vaccine mandate’s umbrella are “strongly encouraged” to require more weekly COVID-19 tests than the state’s baseline number.

Gov. Murphy provided a list of state-run healthcare locations that Monday’s vaccine mandate applies to. Here’s the list of those facilities:

  • Ancora Psychiatric Hospital
  • Ann Klein Forensic Center
  • Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital
  • Trenton Psychiatric Hospital
  • Paramus Veterans Memorial Home
  • Menlo Park Veterans Memorial Home
  • Vineland Veterans Memorial Home
  • Developmental Centers
  • University Hospital
  • State correctional facilities
  • Juvenile Justice Commission Facilities

In the private sector, long-term care/assisted living facilities, county jails, acute-care/specialty hospitals, short-term/post-acute in-patient rehabilitation facilities, and licensed behavioral health facilities are included in the state’s vaccine mandate.

“While reaching our statewide vaccination goal has so far dampened the impact of the Delta variant in New Jersey, some of our most vulnerable populations remain at risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19 primarily due to exposure to unvaccinated individuals,” Gov. Murphy said in a press release. “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, and this measure will help ensure peace of mind for those in higher-risk settings. And we are prepared to consider additional measures if we do not see a satisfactory increase in vaccination uptake in those settings as this new requirement is put into effect.”

This is the first COVID-19 vaccine mandate of any sort that New Jersey has instituted. Since the global effort to inoculate the population against COVID-19 began last December, the three vaccine models have proven to be safe and effective in stopping the virus’ spread. The Delta variant of COVID-19, which has recently emerged as the virus’ dominant strain, can still be spread by vaccinated individuals. However, those who are vaccinated are far more likely to avoid serious illness and death as a result of the pandemic.

On Monday, Gov. Murphy provided data on New Jersey’s breakthrough COVID-19 cases as of July 19. Of the 4,909,743 New Jersey residents who were fully vaccinated at that time, 6,319 tested positive for the virus, and 195 of those individuals were hospitalized as a result. Fifty fully vaccinated individuals died as a result of COVID-19.

New Jersey’s COVID-19 dashboard reported that 5,149,753 individuals were fully vaccinated as of Tuesday. The state has now administered more than 10.5 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine models, and 5,762,928 New Jerseyans have now received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

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