New Jersey hospital becomes first to mandate BOOSTER shots for workers with J&J single dose vaccine

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A New Jersey hospital has become the first to mandate booster shots for workers who have had the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.  

About 270 employees at University Hospital in Newark – the only public acute care facility in the state – have until December 24 to get the booster or face being fired, the hospital’s CEO, Dr Shereef Elnahal said.

The hospital’s mandate comes on the heels of the CDC and FDA approvals of COVID-19 booster shots.

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Workers affected by the mandate could get the booster shot from J&J, or mix-and-match with Pfizer’s, or half a dose of Moderna’s.

‘In my view, the goal of this is not to discipline people. It’s not to force people to do anything,’ Elnahal told McClatchy News. ‘It’s to protect the safety and health of our employees and patients.’

About 270 employees at University Hospital in Newark have until December 24 to get the booster. If they refuse to, they could be fired, the hospital's CEO said

About 270 employees at University Hospital in Newark have until December 24 to get the booster. If they refuse to, they could be fired, the hospital’s CEO said

The hospital's mandate comes on the heels of the CDC and FDA approvals of COVID-19 booster shots

The hospital’s mandate comes on the heels of the CDC and FDA approvals of COVID-19 booster shots

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'In my view, the goal of this is not to discipline people. It's not to force people to do anything,' Elnahal said. 'It's to protect the safety and health of our employees and patients.'

‘In my view, the goal of this is not to discipline people. It’s not to force people to do anything,’ Elnahal said. ‘It’s to protect the safety and health of our employees and patients.’

Ninety-seven percent of the hospital’s 3,700 employees are vaccinated against COVID-19.

The remaining three percent have mostly received medical or religious exemptions.

Elnahal, former New Jersey commisioner of health, warned that those who refused to get the booster shot before the deadline will get their situation ‘escalated’ and will eventually be fired if they remain adamant to get the shot.

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He added that in the following two months he will answer any questions from employees during several dinners and lunches starting Monday.

Elnahal made the announcement in a statement on October 27.

The statement read: ‘Data and analysis indicate that a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine may no longer confer a level of effectiveness that prevents COVID-19 infection in enough of our employees if they are exposed, which has implications on our ability to keep vulnerable patients and families safe.’ 

Elnahal made the announcement in a statement on October 27

Elnahal made the announcement in a statement on October 27

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Workers affected by the mandate could get the booster shot from J&J, or mix-and-match with Pfizer's, or half a dose of Moderna's

Workers affected by the mandate could get the booster shot from J&J, or mix-and-match with Pfizer’s, or half a dose of Moderna’s

More than 66percent of the population in the US has been inoculated against COVID-19. In New Jersey, over 12million doses of the vaccine have been given, and 5.89 million individuals are fully vaccinated

More than 66percent of the population in the US has been inoculated against COVID-19. In New Jersey, over 12million doses of the vaccine have been given, and 5.89 million individuals are fully vaccinated

Booster shots are advised for individuals 18 and older who got their first Johnson & Johnson dose at least two months ago.

Those vaccinated with Pfizer or Moderna, are only recommended to get a booster if they are 65 or older – or 18 and older with underlying health conditions, working in high-risk environments, or living in long-term care facilities.

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As expected, not all employees at University Hospital are on board with the mandate, Elnahal said.

‘I just wanna be honest about that,’ he said.

‘There are employees who have concerns and I’ve already heard about that and that’s the exact reason I want to do these personal lunches with people and explain the context, explain the rationale,’ Elnahal added.

Elnahal, the former health commissioner of New Jersey, said that in the following two months he will answer any questions from employees during several dinners and lunches starting Monday

Elnahal, the former health commissioner of New Jersey, said that in the following two months he will answer any questions from employees during several dinners and lunches starting Monday

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Booster shots are advised for individuals 18 and older who got their first Johnson & Johnson dose at least two months ago

Booster shots are advised for individuals 18 and older who got their first Johnson & Johnson dose at least two months ago

There are currently over 45million active cases of COVID-19 infections in the country

There are currently over 45million active cases of COVID-19 infections in the country

Last month, Biden announced a new executive order requiring all companies with at least 100 employees to garner proof of vaccination from all of their workers. Those who receive exceptions from their employees can opt for minimum weekly testing instead.

The order will affect at least 80 million workers in the US.

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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which falls under the Labor Department, delivered its final draft of the rule to OMB on October 12. The mandate is expected to take effect shortly after the review process is completed.

University Hospital said the hospital will keep reviewing data to determine in due time if the mandates will be extended for employees who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.

More than 66percent of the population in the US has been inculated against COVID-19. In New Jersey, over 12million doses of the vaccine have been given, and 5.89 million individuals are fully vaccinated. 

There are currently over 45million active cases of COVID-19 infections in the country. 

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Almost 28,000 New Jersey residents have lost their lives to COVID since the pandemic started, compared to 735,941 COVID-19 reported deaths in the US.  

Almost 28,000 New Jersey residents have lost their lives to COVID since the pandemic started, compared to 735,941 COVID-19 reported deaths in the US

Almost 28,000 New Jersey residents have lost their lives to COVID since the pandemic started, compared to 735,941 COVID-19 reported deaths in the US

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