All healthcare workers in New Jersey’s private and public health facilities, as well as those who work in state prisons and county prisons, will be vaccinated against COVID-19 by September 7, or 1-2 times a week. have to undergo an inspection. Coronavirus, Gov. Phil Murphy announced on Monday.
This obligation applies to private hospitals, nursing homes, and behavioral health facilities, as well as employees of state-run facilities such as state veterans’ homes, mental hospitals, and development centers.
“This mandate is the floor,” said Murphy. “If we do not see a significant increase in vaccination coverage among our employees in these settings, we are ready and willing to make vaccination mandatory for all staff as a condition of employment.”
The deadline will be enforced “without exceptions or extensions,” he said.
Murphy’s goal is to vaccinate 80% to 85% of the New Jersey population because the delta variant of coronavirus has a very high infection rate.
“The delta variant is more contagious and deadly than previously thought,” he said.
New COVID cases and hospitalizations are rising rapidly as the delta variant now predominates in the state. All counties, except Warren, are now in red or orange zones with high or significant rates of virus transmission, according to the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There has also been an increase in outbreaks in long-term care settings.
Counties with considerable spread:COVID is spreading rapidly across nearly all of New Jersey. CDC recommends masks in these counties
Of particular concern is the increase in children being hospitalized with COVID-19, said State Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli.
The 540 people currently hospitalized statewide include 19 children (13 with positive test results and 6 awaiting test results). This is the highest number of hospitalizations since early May. The majority have not been vaccinated, Murphy said.
Cases of COVID-19 in nursing homes and nursing homes more than doubled from 18 to 38 in two weeks, with 98 residents infected, Persichilli said. Also, an average of 71% of nursing home employees are vaccinated, but in some facilities he is vaccinated as low as 33%.
“None of us want a loved one to be put at risk by a health care provider,” Persichilli said.
The Governor’s announcement applies to private acute care hospitals, specialty hospitals, long-term care and nursing homes, licensed behavioral health facilities, home health facilities, short-term and post-acute inpatient rehabilitation centers, and county correctional facilities. increase. Facility.
State facilities where employees must be vaccinated or have at least one or two COVID tests per week are four state psychiatric hospitals: Ancora, Ann Klein, Greystone and Trenton. Three National Veterans’ Homes in Paramus, Menlo Park, and Vineland. Juvenile Justice Commission facilities, and state correctional facilities.
University Hospital, a state-run medical center in Newark, already requires employees to be vaccinated and has no opt-out provision for testing.
“The discussions with the union have been very constructive,” Murphy said. Including a testing regimen for those opting out of vaccination is hoped to mitigate opposition from organized workers, he said.
But the AFSCME, an American coalition of state, county and local employees, said even orders involving weekly inspection plans would have to be negotiated. , including employees of state veterans’ facilities and mental hospitals.
“The governor’s office agreed this morning to negotiate the implications of requiring workers in the states we represent to be vaccinated or tested weekly,” the union said in a statement. “We look forward to working together to find meaningful solutions for the state and AFSCME members.”
Health Professionals and Allied Employees, the state’s largest union of health workers, said in a statement, “We support the governor’s decision to pave the way for increased immunization rates while conducting regular testing of those who cannot be vaccinated. I support it,” he said.
The union, which has 14,000 members, “will continue to discuss the implications of the deployment with employers,” said union president Debbie White.
The newly announced mandate applies to health care and public gathering places, but private employers are free to enact even stricter vaccine requirements — regardless of whether they offer the option of frequent testing to those who refuse. No, said Murphy.
The private health system and long-term care companies that employ about 100,000 people in New Jersey have already imposed mandates that expire this fall. The governor’s announcement brings forward the schedule.
RWJBarnabas was the first large-scale health care employer in the state to mandate vaccinations above supervisors, and fired six employees who failed to get vaccinated by the deadline. Now that requirement he extends to all 35,000 employees.
Other facilities requiring vaccinations for their employees include CareOne, Hackensack Meridian Health, Virtua Health, St. Joseph’s Health and Valley Health, which are nursing homes and chains of nursing homes.
Currently, one-quarter of the state’s eligible vaccination population is unvaccinated, according to the state’s Department of Health. According to the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, he has a vaccination coverage of 58.5% for the entire population, including children not covered by currently licensed vaccines.
Young people are the least likely to be vaccinated, both nationally and in New Jersey.
Reasons vary, but national polls show that 6% of the population get vaccinated “only if necessary.” Young people between the ages of 18 and her 29 and those without college education are more likely than others to exhibit such attitudes.
Another 10% are taking a ‘wait and see’ attitude towards vaccines. Blacks, Hispanics, and anyone under her 30s are more likely to fall into that category. And 14% said they would “never” get the vaccine no matter what. Republicans and people between her 30s and her 49s are more likely to say this.
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Children under the age of 12 are not yet eligible for vaccination. Pfizer Biotech, the maker of the only vaccine currently approved for ages 12 to 16, said it plans to file with regulators this fall and extend its approval to younger children.
Murphy’s actions follow mandatory vaccine mandates announced last week by President Joe Biden, Governor of New York, Governor of California and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. A state law that went into effect last year requires healthcare workers to get a flu shot unless they have a medical exemption.
Lindy Washburn is a senior healthcare reporter for NorthJersey.com. Subscribe or activate your digital account today to stay up to date on how changes in the medical world are impacting the health of you and your family.
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