(The Center Square) – New Jersey workers in health-care facilities and high-risk congregate settings have more time to meet the fully vaccinated requirement following an executive order from Gov. Phil Murphy.
Executive Order No. 290 mandates that covered healthcare workers must obtain their COVID-19 booster by April 11 or within three weeks of eligibility.
Additionally, workers in high-risk congregate care settings have until May 11 to submit proof they have received the vaccination and booster shot. Those workers who become eligible for a booster after May 11 have three weeks after their eligibility date to receive it.
“Over the course of our COVID-19 response, we have always followed the science in decision-making, and this is no different,” Murphy, a Democrat, said in a statement. “This executive order ensures that our COVID-19 vaccination requirements for covered workers in medical and high-risk congregate settings are able to properly keep themselves and those whom they care for safe.”
Cathy Bennett, president and CEO of the New Jersey Hospital Association, praised the executive order, saying it will help increase vaccination rates among health-care workers.
“We greatly appreciate the Governor’s flexibility in giving New Jersey healthcare workers additional opportunities to comply with the state’s booster shot requirement, and for sticking with the science that has guided New Jersey’s response throughout this pandemic,” Bennett said in a statement.
“Our healthcare facilities continue to work closely with their team members to answer concerns, dispel misinformation and increase booster shot acceptance,” Bennett added. “The new executive order from the Governor will help us meet our shared goal of vaccinating our healthcare workforce.”
New Jersey Republicans have criticized Murphy for the vaccination mandate. They contend the mandate will lead to staffing shortages as workers who do not comply with the mandate could be fired.
“Murphy’s rigid vaccine mandate had the potential to cripple health care and jeopardize lives at some hospitals and long-term care facilities,” state Sen. Anthony M. Bucco, R-Boonton, said in a statement. “We dodged a bullet today. Rolling the deadline back a few weeks will at least give nursing home operators, elderly residents, and their loved ones the chance to let out a collective sigh of relief.
“The Governor’s executive order will delay any staffing crises the vaccine mandate could trigger, but now the deadline is April 11. In true Trenton fashion, Murphy is kicking the can down the road,” Bucco continued. “Better yet, he should kick it off the field completely. There is no need for vaccine mandates.”
The New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association unsuccessfully sought to stop Murphy’s previous executive order, No. 283, mandating COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters.