Gov. Murphy: ‘Zero expectation’ he’ll require student vaccinations for COVID-19
Gov. Phil Murphy said on Wednesday that he has no plans to issue new vaccine mandates for adults or children if he wins a second term as governor.
“I would never say ‘Heck no’ to anything. We still have to leave options on the table,” Murphy said at his COVID-19 briefing.
He said that he would not follow California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s lead. Newsom decisively won a recall election in September, and then less than three weeks later said he would add the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of vaccinations required for children to go to school.
“We have zero – I have zero expectation that’s going to happen. At the moment, we just don’t need to,” Murphy said.
In a statement, Post Press Secretary for the Murphy Administration Alyana Alfaro added, “The Administration has never had plans, nor is it making plans, for a blanket COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Governor Murphy has been honest and upfront about all public health measures implemented to save lives and fight the pandemic.”
He said that part of the reason the state doesn’t need to issue a mandate is the success of his continuing and controversial policy to mandate mask-wearing in school.
“I’ve been to a number of classrooms and child settings, and they’re complying,” he said.
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Murphy’s Republican challenger, Jack Ciattarelli, says that he supports getting the vaccine but does not support vaccine mandates.
“I am vaccinated, I promoted my vaccination, and I strongly encourage you to get vaccinated. But under Gov. Ciattarelli, there will not be, for adults or children, ever a vaccine mandate,” he said.
Ciattarelli does say that unvaccinated individuals should be tested for COVID-19. If elected, he says he will keep Murphy’s policy that all state workers and teachers must get vaccinated or be tested at least twice a week.
“It's not a mandate. You either get vaccinated or you get tested. I think that's the right policy,” he said. The pandemic is one of the top issues on the minds of voters, and they will decide Tuesday who they trust to lead the state through the rest of the pandemic.
A state board voted on Tuesday to mandate that anyone entering the New Jersey State House in Trenton must be vaccinated or test negative for the virus. This includes lawmakers. The state Capitol Joint Management Commission is made up of both Democrats and Republican appointees of top legislators in addition to staff from the governor's office.