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- New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced health care workers must be vaccinated or undergo frequent testing.
- California and New York have also issued similar mandates.
- The order intends to halt the spread of the delta variant and protect immunocompromised people.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced Monday that all health care workers will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo testing for the virus one to two times per week.
This especially applies to health care workers in both public and private facilities, as well as high-risk congregate settings.
Murphy noted in a statement that this new mandate will protect vulnerable people against COVID-19 as the transmissible delta variant is making rounds countrywide.
“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 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.”
New Jersey is the latest state, behind California and New York, to implement mandatory vaccination requirements for health care workers amid the delta variant’s spread.
Some of the employees affected by this order include those working at long-term care and assisted-living facilities, short-term and post-acute in-patient rehabs, acute-care hospitals and specialty hospitals, county jails and behavioral facilities, in addition to standard hospitals.
While state data confirms that new infections are nowhere near the peaks seen during the outbreaks that occurred in the winter of 2020 to 2021 and spring of 2021, cases are increasing following longstanding declines that came with increased vaccinations.
Murphy also noted that New Jersey authorities will pursue “an aggressive testing cadence” for vulnerable congregate settings, including designated Veteran’s Homes. This follows a mandate from the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) that required health care workers in VA facilities to be vaccinated or undergo frequent testing. It was the first government agency to issue a vaccination mandate.
Questions of whether a subsequent federal vaccine mandate will be handed down have followed the various public and private sector vaccination requirements. Over the weekend, U.S.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky confirmed no such mandate is under discussion within the Biden administration.