N.J. requires COVID-19 vaccine for health care workers, ending test option

A woman stands near signs at University Hospital's COVID-19 vaccine clinic at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School in Newark

A woman stands near signs at University Hospital's COVID-19 vaccine clinic at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School in Newark, N.J., Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

New Jersey will require health care workers and employees in nursing homes and prisons to get fully vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19, dropping an option to either get the shot or be tested, Gov. Phil Murphy said Wednesday.

Murphy announced the new executive order while touring a new federally operated coronavirus testing facility in Galloway Township.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

The order means health care workers who are unvaccinated will have until Jan. 27 to get their first shot and until Feb. 28 for the second. Workers in nursing homes and other congregant living facilities, including prisons, will have until Feb. 28 to get their first shot and until March 30 for the second, Murphy said.

Those currently eligible for boosters have until Feb. 28 to get them. Those who will not be eligible until after the window will have until three weeks from their eligibility date, the governor said.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

There will be exemptions for workers with special medical circumstances or deeply held religious beliefs, the governor, a Democrat, said.

Failure to follow the vaccine mandate will subject workers to discipline from their employers, including being fired, Murphy said.

Get the WHYY app!

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal