New Jersey requires boosters for healthcare staff

Workers in New Jersey healthcare facilities and high-risk congregate settings like hospitals and nursing homes will be required to be up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations, including a booster, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Jan. 19.

Mr. Murphy said there would no longer be an option to opt out of vaccination through testing, except for the purposes of providing an accommodation for people exempt from vaccination.

New Jersey healthcare facilities' covered workers subject to the CMS vaccination mandate for healthcare settings were already required to ensure covered employees received at least one vaccine by Jan. 27 and completed their primary vaccine series by Feb. 28. Mr. Murphy said the state is now requiring proof that these workers are up to date with their vaccination by Feb. 28, which also includes any booster shots for which they are eligible. Noncompliant workers risk losing their jobs.

Workers at covered healthcare settings not subject to the CMS mandate and covered high-risk congregate settings like prisons and jails have until Feb. 16 to receive their first dose of the primary vaccine series and must submit proof that they are up to date with their vaccination by March 30. Mr. Murphy said workers who become newly eligible for a booster after the two deadlines must submit proof of their booster shot within three weeks of becoming eligible. 

"With the highly transmissible omicron variant spreading across the country and New Jersey, it is essential that we do everything we can to protect our most vulnerable populations," Mr. Murphy said in a news release. "With immunity waning approximately five months after a primary COVID-19 vaccination, receiving a booster dose is necessary to protect yourself and those around you. It is critically important that we slow the spread throughout our healthcare and congregate settings in order to protect our vulnerable populations and the staff that care for them."

The rule in New Jersey, which was issued through an executive order, comes after New York and California also announced booster requirements for healthcare staff. 

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