Some NJ hospitals make COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for staff as virus cases rise

As COVID-19 cases increase, hospitals in New Jersey are making changes. Many are now making it mandatory for employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

News 12 Staff

Jul 17, 2021, 2:20 AM

Updated 1,006 days ago

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As COVID-19 cases increase, hospitals in New Jersey are making changes. Many are now making it mandatory for employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
When the vaccine was first made available, hospitals in New Jersey told staffers that the vaccination was optional. This is now changing. Hackensack Meridian Health System is the latest to require vaccination. It comes as cases of the Delta variant of the virus increase.
All 36,000 employees at Hackensack Meridian Health System will need to be fully vaccinated by November.
Chief Physician Executive Dr. Daniel Varga said in a statement, "Mandatory vaccinations are the best way to achieve herd immunity and protect our communities from the deadly variants that are threatening to wreak havoc in the months ahead."
The change is a reminder that the pandemic is not yet over. While 5.1 million people in New Jersey are fully vaccinated, cases of the coronavirus are on the rise.
The New Jersey Department of Health reported 516 new cases on Friday. That number was at 441 on Thursday - double the number of positive COVID-19 cases just one month ago.
Cases of the virus are also climbing across the country. Los Angeles County saw a spike so serious that indoor masks mandates were reimplemented even for those who are vaccinated. New infections have gone over 1,000 for the last week.
In Florida, 47% of the population is fully vaccinated and cases are still going up. Public health officials are fighting back against misinformation on social media about the vaccine.
"We were heading in the right direction. People were getting their vaccines. People were continuing to be careful, but we jumped the gun because people unvaccinated were following what the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] recommended for the vaccinated people and mingling and co-mingling,” says infection disease professor Dr. Eileen Marty.
Health officials say that 99% of the people who are dying in hospitals were not vaccinated.


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