(breitbart) – New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) issued an order Wednesday mandating healthcare workers be fully vaccinated and receive a booster or face being fired, NorthJersey.com reported.
The order removes the state’s previous option for unvaccinated workers to test regularly for the coronavirus instead of getting vaccinated. Medical exemptions and exemptions for “deeply held” religious beliefs will still be granted, Murphy said. The order includes all workers in congregate settings such as prisons and group homes.
According to the report, 43 percent of the state’s nursing home and other long-term care facility staff have received a booster shot, and 88 percent are fully vaccinated. State officials reportedly did not have statistics about other healthcare workers.
The updated mandate has garnered varied reactions from healthcare worker unions. George Gresham, president of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East told the publication he supports the order and believes “universal vaccination” is the best way to “return to normalcy.”
“This includes ensuring that everyone has the maximum protection against the virus and its potentially devastating effects, and we have long supported vaccinations and boosters according to established science,” Gresham said.
Debbie White, a nurse and president of the Health Professionals and Allied Employees union, had the opposite reaction and worries the mandate will increase the state’s doctor and nurse shortage.
“We are in the middle of an enormous surge in our hospitals and many health care workers are sick,” White said. “Every health care facility in New Jersey is faced with the challenge of finding enough staff to provide care. While we appreciate the need to increase vaccination rates, this does not solve the problems that exist right now.”
Fully vaccinated healthcare workers who are eligible for a booster have until February 28 to do so, and fully vaccinated workers in congregate settings have until March 30.