New Jersey hits COVID-19 vaccine or test deadline for school, state workers

Monday was the deadline for New Jersey teachers and state workers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Those who did not get the vaccine will need to undergo weekly testing or risk missing work.
Currently 75% of New Jersey’s population is vaccinated. Adding the teachers who are now vaccinated en masse spurred Gov. Phil Murphy to tout that New Jersey is moving in the right direction when it comes to fighting the virus.
In Paterson, 89% of teachers are vaccinated. In Mount Olive, 80% of teachers are vaccinated. And in Cherry Hill, 91% of teachers have gotten the vaccine.
“When you have a vaccine mandate and a testing option, I think that’s reasonable,” Murphy said. “And in schools, everyone is required to wear a mask. I don’t think that’s unreasonable.”
The New Jersey Education Association agrees. The union has said in the past, “COVID-19 vaccines are the best tool we have to better protect our schools and communities against this pandemic and the terrible toll it continues to take.”
But not everyone is on board with the vaccine mandate. Several protests were held around the state in regard to the vaccine rules.
“I believe in our immune systems. I believe in our health and our choice,” said Jennele Moschella, of Holmdel.
Moschella led a really outside of Holmdel High School. Moschella and a group of parents say that they do not believe that teachers should have to get the vaccine. And they do not want their children to be forced to wear masks.
“This is a personal, private issue. I don’t really think anybody else should have something to say,” she said
Moschella said that she is not worried about her children being in a classroom with a teacher who is unvaccinated.
“Statistically, COVID has a less than 2% mortality rate. So, you’re telling me 98% and greater survival,” she said.
The Holmdel school superintendent would not comment on the issue but said that the rally was not sanctioned by the district.
A similar rally was held outside of the New Jersey State House. In response to their argument, the state Department of Health has long said the vaccine helps protect the most vulnerable.
There is no mandate for children ages 12 and older to get vaccinated. However, the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine should be available to children ages 5 to 11 by the end of October. The governor says that this should help keep transmissions down and could lead to an end of the mask mandate in schools.