Confused About New Jersey and Federal COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates?

For more information about this blog post, please contact Khaled J. KleleRyan M. MageeLabinot Alexander BerlajolliBrianna J. Santolli, or Connor Breza.

New Jersey Vaccine Mandate for Healthcare Workers 

New Jersey’s Executive Order 252 took effect on September 7, 2021. This Executive Order mandates that all workers in certain State and private health care facilities and high-risk congregate settings be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or be subject to COVID-19 testing at minimum one to two times per week. The Order applies to the following facilities and individuals:

Covered Facilities include:

  • Acute, pediatric, inpatient rehabilitation, and psychiatric hospitals, including specialty hospitals, and ambulatory surgical centers
  • Long-term care facilities, including the State Veterans Homes
  • Intermediate care facilities, including the State developmental centers
  • Residential detox, short term and long term residential substance abuse disorder treatment facilities
  • Clinic-based settings like ambulatory care, urgent care clinics, dialysis centers, Federally Qualified Health Centers, family planning sites, and Opioid Treatment Programs
  • Community-based healthcare settings including Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly, and pediatric and adult medical day care programs
  • Licensed home health agencies and registered health care service firms operating within the state
  • State and county correctional facilities
  • Secure care facilities operated by the Juvenile Justice Commission
  • Licensed community residences for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Licensed community residences for adults with mental illness
  • Certified day programs for individuals with IDD and TBI

Covered Individuals include:

  • Full and part-time employees
  • Contractors
  • Other individuals working in the covered setting, including individuals providing operational, custodial, or administrative support

Following September 7, 2021, health care facilities and other settings covered by the requirement must be in compliance with the Order, and if a worker fails to be vaccinated, the worker will be required to submit to a minimum once to twice weekly testing. Health care facilities may, but are not required to, administer the COVID-19 test on site or alternatively require the employee to submit proof of the COVID-19 test. Regardless of whether the covered setting is providing workers with on-site access to testing or requiring workers to submit proof of a COVID-19 test, both antigen and molecular tests will be acceptable to fulfill the requirements of the Order. 

Keep in mind that in 2020, New Jersey mandated certain health care workers to take the influenza vaccine with N.J.S.A. 26:2H-18.79.

Pending Federal Vaccine Mandate for Healthcare Workers

Though not yet in effect, the federal government will begin requiring COVID-19 vaccination of staff within all Medicare and Medicaid-certified facilities. On September 9th, the Biden administration released a plan which includes requiring healthcare workers in the following facilities (among others) to be vaccinated:

  • hospitals
  • dialysis facilities
  • ambulatory surgical settings
  • home health agencies 

More information about the federal mandate will most likely be released over the next few weeks, with an anticipated release sometime in October 2021.