TRENTON, N.J. – Assemblywoman Beth Sawyer moved to force an Assembly vote today on her bill prohibiting discrimination against corrections officers, first responders and health care workers who have declined the Covid-19 vaccines and boosters. Fully vaccinated health care workers have to show proof of a booster shot no later than Feb. 28 under Gov. Phil Murphy’s vaccination mandate.
On Jan. 19, Murphy signed an executive order requiring health care workers and those working in high-risk congregate settings, like prisons, to receive their primary series of a Covid-19 vaccination and a booster shot or face termination. The order also removed the alternative testing option. Corrections officers have until March 30 to show proof of compliance.
“People should have a choice,” Sawyer continued. “Enforcing this mandate will also lead to substantial staffing issues in our already overstressed health care system and prisons.”
According to reports, more than 40% of nursing home workers had not gotten their booster. Fewer than half of the state’s prison employees, a scant 43%, have been vaccinated.
On Monday, New Jersey recorded 685 confirmed positive Covid-19 tests and 13 new deaths. The state’s seven-day average for confirmed cases is 1,080, down 30% from a week ago and 85% from a month ago. All counties in New Jersey have either low or medium community levels of the coronavirus under new federal guidelines.
“When the latest data clearly shows the threat is diminishing daily, we should not be increasing the mandates on our citizens,” Sawyer said.
Democrats tabled her bill (A2585) by a 42-33 vote.