Confused About New Jersey and Federal COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates?
October 15, 2021
Riker Danzig Scherer Hyland & Perretti
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New Jersey Vaccine Mandate for Medical Personnel
New Jersey Executive Order 252 went into effect on September 7, 2021. This Executive Order requires that all workers in certain government and private health facilities and high-risk gatherings be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo a COVID-19 test at least once or twice a week. The ordinance applies to the following institutions and persons:
Facilities covered include:
- Acute, pediatric, inpatient rehabilitation and psychiatric clinics, including specialty clinics, and outpatient surgical centers
- Long-term care facilities, including state veterans’ homes
- Intermediate care facilities, including government development centers
- Residential Detox, short and long term drug abuse treatment facilities
- Clinic-based facilities such as outpatient care, emergency clinics, dialysis centers, government approved health centers, family planning centers, and opioid treatment programs
- Community health care facilities, including all inclusive care programs for the elderly and pediatric and adult day medical care programs
- Approved home health authorities and registered health service companies operating within the state
- State and county penal institutions
- Safe care facilities run by the Juvenile Justice Commission
- Licensed communal accommodation for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Licensed communal accommodation for adults with mental illness
- Certified day programs for people with IDD and TBI
The insured persons include:
- Full-time and part-time employees
- Other people working in the Covered Environment, including those providing operational, regulatory or administrative support
After September 7, 2021, health care facilities and other facilities covered by the requirement must comply with the regulation, and if a worker is not vaccinated, the worker must undergo a test at least once or twice a week. Healthcare facilities can, but do not have to, perform the COVID-19 test on site or, alternatively, require the employee to provide evidence of the COVID-19 test. Whether the covered environment gives workers access to on-site testing or requires workers to demonstrate a COVID-19 test, both antigen and molecular tests are acceptable to meet the requirements of the regulation.
Keep in mind that in 2020 New Jersey directed certain health care workers to take the flu vaccine with NJSA 26: 2H-18.79.
Outstanding federal vaccination mandate for healthcare workers
While this is not yet in place, the federal government will begin requiring staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in all Medicare and Medicaid certified facilities. On September 9, the Biden government released a plan requiring health workers to be vaccinated in the following facilities (among others):
- Dialysis facilities
- outpatient surgical settings
- Home health authorities
More information on the federal mandate will most likely be published in the next few weeks, probably in October 2021.
The content of this article is intended to provide general guidance on the subject. Expert advice should be sought regarding your specific circumstances.
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