The U.S. Supreme Court last week overturned the Biden Administration’s vaccine mandate for companies with more than 100 employees. But in a move that garnered a bit less attention, it upheld the mandate for workers in the healthcare field.
Phil Murphy was paying attention.
The governor said Wednesday – the first full day of his second term – that he was issuing an executive order mandating that all those working in health care or in congruent living facilities – jails, prisons, group homes etc. – be fully vaccinated. There is no testing option.
He said the state will no longer tolerate unvaccinated individuals putting others at risk.
The deadline for health care workers to begin getting their shots is Jan. 27; for those in congruent facilities, it’s Feb. 28.
Vaccine mandates, and for that matter, the COVID vaccine itself, is fraught with politics.
Recall that near the end of the gubernatorial election campaign last October, a Project Veritas video surfaced claiming Murphy was going to initiate a blanket vaccine mandate after the election – assuming he won. The Murphy camp condemned the video and the methods used in producing it.
Responding to a question, the governor said he has no plans to expand the vaccine mandate beyond today’s executive order.
The governor spoke after visiting a COVID testing site at Stockton University in Atlantic County.
He described the Omicron variant as a tsunami that has not yet pulled back.
More than 5,000 New Jerseyans are being treated for the virus in state hospitals, the governor said. Of those, about 800 are in intensive care.
Testing those who are ill, or worried they are ill, is part of the equation.
But a bigger part is getting fully vaccinated.
More than 70 percent of eligible residents have gotten the first two shots of the COVID vaccine. But only 48 percent have been “boosted.”
The governor said those “un-boosted” have a much greater chance than others of being hospitalized And he acknowledged the problem.
“The booster rates are unacceptable,” Murphy said.