All New Jersey health care workers will now need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and receive their booster shots — or risk being fired, Gov. Phil Murphy revealed Wednesday.

Murphy said the current rule that allows unvaccinated workers to undergo weekly COVID testing will be dropped.

“We are no longer going to look past those who continue to put their colleagues and perhaps, I think even more importantly, those who are their responsibility, in danger of COVID. That has to stop,” the Democratic governor said at a press conference.

“Testing out will no longer be an option.”

It is a reversal of the executive order Murphy signed in September last year that gave workers in these settings the option to undergo weekly testing instead of being vaccinated.

Under the new order, health care workers have until Jan. 27 to get their first dose and must be fully vaccinated by Feb. 28, Murphy said.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced the mandate on January 19, 2022.New Jersey Office of the Governor via APAbout 80 percent of employees in long-term care homes have already been vaccinated, but only 44 percent have received their booster shot according to the latest data.REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

The new vaccine order also applies to those who work in “high-risk congregate settings”, including long-term care homes and correctional facilities.

Those who work in such places, including nursing homes and prisons, have been given a Feb. 16 deadline to receive their first shot and complete their vaccination series by March 30.

The health care workers that have already been fully vaccinated will have until Feb. 28 to receive a booster shot, while fully-vaccinated congregate setting employees have until March 30 to be boosted.

Under the new mandate, healthcare workers have until February 28 to get fully vaccinated. REUTERS/Brendan McDermidGovernor Murphy also said that the option to test for COVID-19 weekly will be dropped. MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

Exemptions to the new order can only be made for those with medical conditions or “deeply-held” religious beliefs, Murphy said.

It wasn’t immediately clear how many workers the new order would affect.

About 80 percent of employees in long-term care homes have already been vaccinated, but only 44 percent have received their booster shot, the latest state data showed.

According to the Governor, exemptions to the new order can only be made for those with medical conditions or “deeply-held” religious beliefs.AP

COVID infections in the Garden State appear to be on the decline following the winter surge fueled by the Omicron variant.

The state recorded 8,467 new cases Wednesday — down from the record 33,459 infections on Jan. 7.



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