Gov. Phil Murphy announced this 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.
“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.”
“Vaccination is the best tool we have to end this pandemic,” said New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “None of us would want our vulnerable loved ones put at further risk due to their caregiver or healthcare provider. Ensuring these individuals are fully vaccinated or have been tested will help protect those who live in these congregate settings or need hospital care.”
Health care facilities and other settings covered by the requirement will have until September 7, 2021 for all employees to come into full compliance with the vaccine mandate. At that time, if workers in the facility/setting have not demonstrated that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the entity will be required to have a plan in place to begin a testing program for those workers.
This requirement will not alter any entity’s existing stated policy requiring employees to be fully vaccinated as a condition of employment without a testing alternative. The Administration will work in collaboration with union and labor partners ahead of the vaccine-requirement deadline and private sector employers are encouraged to similarly work with labor partners as they implement their own vaccination and testing policies.
The State will pursue an aggressive testing cadence for settings of particular concern under its purview, including the Veteran’s Homes overseen by the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs are committed to testing unvaccinated workers three times per week. Private facilities are strongly encouraged to consider instituting requirements above and beyond the baseline that will be required by the State.