NJ mandates vaccines or testing for many healthcare workers

Employees in certain state and private healthcare facilities and other high-risk congregate settings in New Jersey must either be vaccinated or undergo regular testing according to a new mandate.

Full compliance is required by Sept. 7, 2021, Gov. Phil Murphy announced on Monday afternoon.

"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," Murphy said.

Workers who do not get vaccinated will be subject to COVID-19 tests at a minimum of one to two times per week.

Murphy warned that they are prepared to consider additional measures if they do not see a "satisfactory increase in vaccination uptake" in the healthcare facilities.

In a statement, the president of HPAE, a union that represents 14,000 nurses, social workers, therapists, technicians, medical researchers, and other healthcare workers in New Jersey, said it supports the governor's decision.

"This will ensure we are providing the best protection to mitigate the spread of COVID-19," HPAE President Debbie White said in a statement. "As a union, we will continue to discuss the effects of the rollout with employers because we know there are some for whom the vaccine is prohibitive."

Impacted state settings include:

• 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

Impacted private facility settings include, but are not limited to:

• Long-term care and assisted-living facilities
• County jails
• Acute-care hospitals and specialty hospitals
• Short-term and post-acute in-patient rehabs
• Licensed behavioral health facilities
• Home health agencies