TRENTON, NJ – The Republican Caucus of the New Jersey Senate on Thursday called for Governor Phil Murphy to lift the remaining mandates on public and private sector workers, including vaccine mandates for health care and congregate care workers and testing mandates for unvaccinated teachers and school employees.
The Senators made the request in a letter sent to Murphy.
“Life for most New Jerseyans has finally started to return to normal following the end of New Jersey’s public health emergency two months ago. Mask mandates have largely disappeared, vaccine passports are gone, and social distancing restrictions are little more than a memory,” the Republicans wrote to the Governor. “Some public and private sector workers, however, remain subject to burdensome, unnecessary, and illogical pandemic restrictions that were imposed by you through executive order and never repealed. For example, you continue to require workers in health care and congregate care settings, including prisons and nursing homes, to be vaccinated and boosted. You also continue to require unvaccinated teachers to submit to weekly COVID-19 testing, even as the fear of outbreaks in schools and elsewhere has faded away.”
Republicans claim the mandates are putting stress on nursing homes.
“With regard to your ongoing vaccine mandates, we have heard from nursing and group home operators that the mandate is making it extremely difficult for them to maintain sufficient numbers of staff to care for their patients and residents,” they wrote.
Due to the waning severity of the most recent strains of COVID-19 and the availability of therapeutics, they are calling for the elimination of those vaccine mandates. Recent strains of the virus have also not been stopped by the vaccines, but health officials claim the strength of the virus was reduced due to the vaccines.
“Given the reduced severity of recent strains of COVID-19, the availability of effective therapeutics, and widespread vaccine-induced and naturally-acquired immunity, facility operators have warned that a far greater threat is posed to the vulnerable people in their care by a shortage of skilled workers than by unvaccinated staff,” they wrote. “In the case of prisons, you have imposed a vaccine mandate on corrections officers and other employees, but not on inmates themselves. How does it make sense that prisoners have more rights under your executive orders than the public servants we trust to guard them? It doesn’t.”
The legislators cited a report that the existing suite of vaccinations and boosters have thus far been ineffective at stopping the spread of the latest variant of the Omicron virus.
“Further, regarding the efficacy of mandating boosters, a pair of important studies released last week indicate that the boosters required by your executive orders offer little protection against the Omicron variant that is prevalent today,” they wrote. “A substantial study of 130,000 people conducted by Yale University “did not detect an additional benefit of receiving a third booster dose” for protection against Omicron. A separate study from Canada similarly found that more than two vaccine doses “may be of marginal incremental value” for protecting previously-infected individuals against Omicron. Approximately 60% of the population has had COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and falls into that group.”
The Senators said they believe there is absolutely no basis to continue to threaten employees with termination for refusing to comply with your vaccine mandate.
“We urge you to lift the vaccine mandate immediately,” the said.