Senator Holly Schepisi said a new executive order announced by Governor Murphy today eliminating a testing alternative to vaccination and boosters for health care workers will lead to a shortage of doctors and nurses in New Jersey in the aftermath of the Omicron surge.
Sen. Holly Schepisi said a new executive order by Gov. Murphy will lead to a shortage of doctors and nurses in New Jersey in the aftermath of the Omicron surge. (Flickr)
“Doctors, nurses, and other medical caregivers have been fighting this fight against COVID-19 since the very beginning,” said Schepisi (R-39). “After nearly two years, they’re tired, they’re burnt out, and they’re ready for a break. Instead of giving them extra support, they’re getting another new mandate from Governor Murphy that will further thin their ranks and increase the workload of those who remain. It doesn’t make any sense and it certainly won’t be good for patients.”
Executive Order No. 283 requires workers at health care facilities and high-risk congregate settings to be up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations and mandatory boosters. Those who aren’t will be fired from their jobs, under Governor Murphy’s order.
All covered workers will be required to be vaccinated and boosted and will no longer be permitted to submit to testing as an alternative to vaccination, except in limited situations.
Schepisi questioned the logic of the governor’s new order, noting that a landmark study from Israel demonstrated that boosters and even a fourth dose of a COVID vaccine do little to protect against the transmission of the Omicron variant.
Further, after such study, Israel’s vaccine chief is now saying vaccine passports are no longer relevant and should be phased out due to the equally high rates of transmission among vaccinated and unvaccinated people.
“The governor’s executive orders stopped being about science long ago,” said Schepisi. “There’s absolutely no data in support of this new executive vaccine mandate on health care workers. Even worse, Governor Murphy’s order may actually lead to greater spread of COVID in health care facilities by eliminating the testing option which with Omicron is proving to be a safer alternative to determine if someone is positive as vaccines have proven to be ineffective at stopping the transmission of this variant.”
Schepisi said this illogical order demonstrates why important policy decisions should be made in consultation with the Legislature, and not dictated by executive fiat.
“We’re at the stage of the pandemic where there’s no excuse to circumvent the legislative process,” added Schepisi. “While Omicron surged through New Jersey over the past month, this week the numbers have drastically declined. Seven counties have seen their infection rates drop at least 40%, including Bergen, Essex, Middlesex, Monmouth, Passaic, and Somerset. In Union County, the infection rates have dropped over 50% this week alone. Nothing about this order is so urgent that it needs to be done today. We should discuss this kind of policy change in an open and transparent manner, and we should give health care workers the opportunity to tell us their concerns. After everything they’ve been through, they know a hell of a lot more about the impact of this virus than Governor Murphy ever will.”