coronavirus vaccine

COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement for Employees in Healthcare Settings Lifted

Following recent changes to federal requirements regarding COVID-19 vaccines, Governor Phil Murphy yesterday signed Executive Order (EO) No. 332 to lift the COVID-19 vaccination requirements for healthcare settings in New Jersey.

An executive order signed on April 3, 2023 previously lifted the requirement for employees in healthcare settings who were not up to date on their COVID-19 vaccinations to undergo routine testing, while also lifting both the COVID-19 vaccination and testing requirements for workers in congregate settings. Yesterday’s EO lifts the remaining requirement that healthcare settings maintain a policy requiring their workers to be up to date on their COVID-19 vaccinations.

“The order aligns our state with recent updates to federal requirements and reflects our different circumstances now, as compared to the past few years. My administration will continue to take responsible steps to adjust New Jersey’s COVID-19 policies and guidance accordingly,” said Murphy. “COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, and I continue to encourage all residents to stay up to date on their vaccinations. Vaccination remains a key public health tool to help protect our health care workers and the patients in their care.”

Healthcare settings include, but are not limited to, long-term care facilities; psychiatric and specialty hospitals; long-term residential substance abuse disorder treatment facilities; clinic-based setting such as Federally Qualified Health Centers and family planning sites; and community-based health care settings such as pediatric and adult medical day care programs.

The changes come after the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced last week that it will rescind and no longer enforce its rule requiring most employees of Medicare and Medicaid-certified health care providers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 for that provider to be eligible to participate in Medicare and Medicaid. EO No. 332 brings New Jersey in line with these changes.

The EO was also prompted by recent changes to the Emergency Use Authorizations of the COVID-19 vaccines that were issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which clarified that individuals can now receive one dose of the Moderna or Pfizer bivalent mRNA vaccine regardless of their prior vaccination status.

As with the previous executive order, individual employers may continue to require vaccination or testing protocols in excess of these statewide requirements and the New Jersey Department of Heath may continue to track vaccination data in respect to healthcare settings.

This executive order takes effect immediately.

For a copy of Executive Order No. 332, click here.

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