New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday that all workers in certain state and private health care facilities and high-risk congregate settings will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or be subject to COVID-19 testing at minimum one to two times per week. This requirement will help increase protection against the spread of COVID-19, including the highly transmissible Delta variant, to vulnerable populations who have been hardest hit during the pandemic.
All employees in certain health-care facilities and other high-risk congregate settings are required to complete a full vaccination course or undergo regular testing at a minimum of once to twice each week. Full compliance is required by September 7th.
“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,” said Governor Murphy. “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.”
The vaccination mandate is applicable to the following employers:
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
State correctional facilities
Juvenile Justice Commission Facilities
Long-term care and assisted-living facilities
Acute-care hospitals and specialty hospitals
Short-term and post-acute inpatient rehabs
Licensed behavioral health facilities
Home health agencies
Private-sector employers may implement a more rigorous mandate.
“Our mandate is the floor. If we do not see significant increases in vaccination rates among the employees in these settings, we are ready and willing to require all staff to be vaccinated as a condition of their employment,” Murphy added.
Last week, Murphy and Department of Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli made a strong recommendation that both vaccinated and unvaccinated residents wear masks in indoor settings when there is increased risk.
Examples of such situations include:
• Crowded indoor settings
• Indoor settings involving activities with close contact with others who may not be fully vaccinated
• Indoor settings where the vaccine status of other individuals in the setting is unknown
• Where an individual is immunocompromised or at increased risk for severe disease
Speaking about the impact of the Delta variant, Governor Murphy and Commissioner Persichilli made the following statement:
“Our metrics are trending in the wrong direction, and new data suggests the Delta variant is more transmissible even among vaccinated individuals, which is why we are making this strong recommendation.
“Fortunately, our numbers are a fraction of those in many other states, most of which have significantly lower vaccination rates. Should our numbers reach those levels, we reserve the right to take more drastic action, including a statewide mask mandate.
“We have crushed this virus repeatedly like no other state in the nation, and we are proud to boast among the country’s highest vaccination rates. But at this point, given where our metrics are now, we feel the best course of action is to strongly encourage every New Jerseyan, and every visitor to our state, to take personal responsibility and mask up indoors when prudent.
“And we equally encourage every unvaccinated resident or visitor to get vaccinated. The vaccines are proven safe and highly effective, and are the surest way we can end this pandemic.”