NJ Veterans Home Staff Not Required to Get Covid Shots, Despite Federal VA Mandate

by Scott Fallon & Lindy Washburn, NorthJersey.com

This story is being republished under a special NJ News Commons content-sharing agreement related to COVID-19 coverage. Link to FULL story: northjersey.com/story/news/coronavirus/2021/07/27/nj-veterans-home-covid-vaccine-not-mandated-despite-federal-requirement/5385732001/

The federal Department of Veteran Affairs issued one of the strictest COVID-19 vaccine mandates to date for all its health care employees Monday: Get fully vaccinated within eight weeks or lose your job.

But in New Jersey, where at least 205 residents and staff members died from coronavirus at state-run veterans homes, Gov. Phil Murphy won’t say whether he is considering doing the same.

“No news on that yet,” he said when asked Monday if he was considering mandating vaccines for public-sector workers.

Few nursing homes in the nation were hit as hard as the state-run veterans homes in Paramus and Menlo Park, where a combined 194 residents and two staff members died from COVID-19. A third home in Vineland had 11 resident deaths.

The vaccination rate among staff at two of the three homes is below the statewide average of 70.5 percent for nursing homes, with Vineland at 65 percent as of Tuesday.

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