New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced on Tuesday that all employees in most state and private healthcare facilities and high-risk settings will be required to be fully vaccinated or else be tested at least once or twice a week. High risk settings include home health agencies, behavioral health facilities, in-patient rehabilitation centers, county jails, assisted-living facilities, and specialty hospitals.
The governor said the new mandate was a protective measure as the infectious delta variant causes case numbers to increase throughout the county.
“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 in a statement. “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.”
Employers have until September 7, 2021 for all employees to get their shots. If not all employees are vaccinated by then, the healthcare facility or setting will have to create and implement a weekly testing system.
The state has “strongly encouraged” private facilities to also mandate vaccine or testing requirements.
“Our mandate is the floor,” Murphy tweeted. “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.”