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Where is vaccination or testing required for workers in New Jersey?
All covered workers in the following settings are currently required to be fully vaccinated or subject to COVID-19 testing at minimum one to two times per week:
- Health care facilities and high-risk congregate settings
- Preschool through Grade 12 schools
- State agencies, authorities, colleges, and universities
- Child care facilities
However, beginning by the dates outlined below, all workers in health care facilities and high-risk congregate settings will no longer be permitted to submit to testing as an alternative to vaccination, except for the purposes of providing an accommodation for individuals exempt from vaccination, AND will be required to be up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations, including having received a booster dose.
In addition, the federal government requires all federal executive branch employees and all federal contractors to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Health Care Facilities and High-Risk Congregate Settings
New Jersey has announced that all workers in health care facilities and high-risk congregate settings will be required to be up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations, including having received a booster dose and will no longer be permitted to submit to testing as an alternative to vaccination, except for the purposes of providing an accommodation for individuals exempt from vaccination.
- Workers in facilities subject to the federal CMS vaccine rule for settings that receive Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement must obtain their first dose of the primary series of a COVID-19 vaccination based on the timeframes set by CMS.
- As of February 16, 2022, workers in facilities not subject to the CMS rule must obtain their first dose of the primary series of a COVID-19 vaccination.
- By April 11, 2022, or within three weeks of becoming eligible, whichever is later,workers in facilities subject to the federal CMS vaccine rule for settings that receive Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement must provide adequate proof that they are up to date with their COVID-19 vaccination (completed their primary series and any booster shots for which they are eligible).
- By May 11, 2022, workers in facilities not subject to the CMS rule must provide adequate proof that they are up to date with their COVID-19 vaccination. To be up to date, a worker must have completed their primary series and at least one booster shot. It is recommended, but not required, that individuals also receive any additional booster shots for which they are eligible.
- Workers who become newly eligible for a booster shot will be required to submit proof of their booster shot within three weeks of becoming eligible
All full and part-time employees, contractors, and other individuals who work in covered facilities and settings, including individuals providing operational, custodial, or administrative support, are required to be up to date with their vaccination, including having received a single booster shot. Those facilities and settings 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 and residential community homes 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; and
- Group homes and psychiatric community homes licensed by DCF
Settings can impose more stringent vaccination or testing requirements on workers, including any requirement for more frequent testing.
Settings are required to take the first step toward bringing a noncompliant covered worker into compliance within two weeks of the respective April 11, 2022 and May 11, 2022 deadlines. Failure to take such action may result in penalties and other corrective actions allowed pursuant to federal or state regulation or statute.
All part-time and full-time individuals, employed by all public, private, and parochial preschool programs and elementary and secondary schools, including charter and renaissance schools, are required to be fully vaccinated or submit to testing. Covered individuals include:
- Educational support professionals,
- Individuals providing food, custodial, and administrative support services,
- Substitute teachers, whether employed directly by a school or otherwise contracted, and,
- Contractors, providers, and any other individuals performing work in a school whose job duties require them to make regular visits, including volunteers.
Child Care Facilities
All part-time and full-time staff at child care centers are required to be fully vaccinated or submit to testing. Impacted child care personnel include:
- Individuals providing food, custodial, and administrative support services, and
- Contractors, providers, and any other individuals performing work in child care centers whose job duties require them to make regular visits, including volunteers.
State and Federal Government
All workers at state agencies, authorities, and public colleges and universities, are required to be fully vaccinated or submit to testing.
In addition, all new state contracts, solicitations for a state contract, extensions or renewals of an existing state contract, and exercise of an option on an existing state contract to include a clause requiring workers employed through those contracts that enter, work at, or provide services in any state agency location to show they are fully vaccinated, or they will be required to undergo weekly testing.
At the federal level, federal employees and employees of contractors that do business with the federal government must be fully vaccinated.
Vaccine and Testing Details
For New Jersey's vaccine and testing requirements, workers are considered "fully vaccinated" for COVID-19 two weeks or more after they have received the second dose in a two-dose series or two weeks or more after they have received a single-dose vaccine. Vaccines must be currently authorized for emergency use or approved by the FDA or the WHO.
For New Jersey's vaccine requirements for health care facilities and high-risk congregate settings, workers are considered "up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations" if they have received a primary series which consists of either a 2-dose series of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine or a single dose COVID-19 vaccine, and a single booster dose. It is recommended, but not required, that workers receive any additional booster doses for which they are eligible under CDC recommendations.
Workers can show proof of full vaccination by presenting:
- the CDC COVID-19 vaccination card issued at the vaccination site, or an electronic or physical copy;
- the official record from the New Jersey Immunization Information System (NJISS) or other immunization register
- a record from a health care provider's portal or medical record system on official letterhead signed by a licensed physician, nurse practitioner, physician's assistance, registered nurse, or pharmacist;
- a military immunization or health record from the United States Armed Forces; or
- Docket mobile phone application record or any state-specific application that produces a digital health record.
Both antigen and molecular tests are acceptable for weekly testing.
State and federal requirements do not impact an employer's ability to impose more stringent vaccination or testing requirements on workers, including any requirement for more frequent testing, for testing of both vaccinated and unvaccinated staff, and for mandatory vaccinations without a testing alternative.