N.J. coronavirus update: Murphy announces vaccine mandate for child care workers

A health care worker fills a syringe with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine

In this July 22, 2021 file photo, a health care worker fills a syringe with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

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Updated: 3 p.m.

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New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday a new COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all child care workers and staff at those facilities. Full vaccination must be completed by Nov. 1 or workers will be subject to weekly testing.

“We know that there are already many child care providers who are doing their utmost to protect their children in their care, their employees, and their communities and we thank them,” the governor said. “This order ensures that everyone is abiding by the same strong standards.”

In addition, all employees, visitors, and young people in a facility’s care ages 2 and up must wear a face mask starting Friday.

The governor said these announcements bring him no joy, “but it’s the right thing to do.”

“We appreciate that it may be difficult to keep very young kids in masks for the majority of the day,” he said. “But we are looking for these settings to provide kids with as much support necessary to ensure the safest possible environment.”

The mandates are similar to others for workers in schools and health care facilities.

The governor announced his first vaccine mandate for health care workers and congregate settings like prisons on Aug. 2. That was followed up with a face mask mandate for school buildings the same week. Teachers and state employees, including those at state colleges and universities, are required to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18.

Murphy said there was “no magic” as to why his administration decided to announce a vaccine mandate for child care workers now as opposed to when one was announced for teachers.

“We had always said that we would start with the most exposed elements of workforce clientele and expand out from there,” he said. “This is something that was always on the cards.”

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