💉 Gov. Murphy has lifted the vaccine mandate for health care workers in NJ

👩‍⚕️ The mandate contributed to a severe shortage of nurses

🏥 Hospitals can continue to impose their own mandates

More than three years since the COVID-19 pandemic began paralyzing the economy and spawning restrictions that polarized the population, Gov. Phil Murphy has rescinded one of the last mandates he imposed on the Garden State.

Health care workers are no longer required to be vaccinated for coronavirus.

Murphy's vaccination mandate applied to doctors, nurses and virtually any other worker in a health care setting.

In statement Monday, Murphy said, "Today's order aligns our state with recent updates to federal requirements and reflects our different circumstances now, as compared to the past few years."

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It was announced this week that the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services would also no longer continue a vaccination mandate.

The requirement for New Jersey health care workers to be vaccinated and boosted contributed to staffing shortages that many health care providers were already dealing with.

Hospitals fired hundreds of physicians, nurses and support staff in 2021 after they refused to comply with the vaccination mandate.

Gov. Phil Murphy watches as nurse Maritza Beniquez, seated, reacts after receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, at University Hospital, in Newark
Gov. Phil Murphy watches as nurse Maritza Beniquez, seated, reacts after receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, at University Hospital, in Newark (Kirsten Luce/The New York Times via AP, Pool)

It is hoped that many of those staffers will return now that the mandate has been lifted.

However, while Murphy has lifted his mandate, he will continue to allow individual employers, including hospitals, to impose their own mandates. It is not clear how many health care facilities will continue with the vaccine mandate.

In making the announcement, Murphy continued to urge all state residents to keep current with COVID vaccines and boosters and stressed the vaccine is "safe and effective."

People Gather At City Hall To Protest Against Vaccine Mandates In New York City
Getty Images

This was one of the last pandemic-era restrictions Murphy had allowed to remain in place. He had already lifted the vaccination requirement for prison workers, group homes and other congregate settings.

He also lifted a COVID testing requirement for unvaccinated teachers and daycare workers.

The next COVID battle is likely to be whether the COVID vaccine will be added to the list of vaccinations needed to attend public school in New Jersey.

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