Less than two weeks before Governor Phil Murphy’s deadline requiring health care workers to have their second COVID vaccine shot, Senator Anthony M. Bucco today warned of a public health disaster in the making.
“The Governor is playing a dangerous game of chicken with this irresponsible vaccine mandate,” said Bucco (R-25). “For the sake of an arbitrary edict that is neither supported by science nor common sense, he is risking the stability of the entire health system in our state.
“It’s time for the Governor to stop playing dictator and end this attempt to intimidate the courageous doctors and nurses who helped us through the darkest days of the pandemic,” the Senator continued.
Murphy’s executive order signed on Jan. 19 requires health care workers to be fully vaccinated by Feb. 28 or risk termination. The order eliminates the testing option allowing workers to submit negative COVID test results rather than taking the vaccine.
“In underestimating the resolve of the health care professionals who object to the vaccine mandate for a variety of justifiable reasons, the Governor will exacerbate an already serious crisis in hospitals where staffing levels and morale are low after almost two years of coping with COVID,” Bucco noted.
“Stripping away the testing option will be the final straw for many workers who have given everything and complied with all of the nonsensical mandates throughout the pandemic. The only one who doesn’t seem to recognize that doctors, nurses, and other caregivers are at their breaking point is our Governor himself.”
Bucco, citing the heart-wrenching personal testimony of almost two dozen health care workers published in this month’s edition of the New Jersey Healthcare Workers Journal, cautioned it is clear workers don’t want to lose their jobs but they won’t be forced to capitulate.
- “Health care workers want the same ability we give our patients, to give true informed consent, weighing all benefits and risks, and make health care decisions for ourselves,” a physical therapist with 12 years experienced wrote in the journal.
- “I have always been very passionate about my career as a nurse. I love taking care of people within my own community,” a registered nurse and leukemia survivor explained. “No one should have to be forced to put anything inside their bodies. No one should ever face termination for not ‘complying’ with a vaccine that was not thoroughly tested, especially on someone like me who has leukemia.”
- A career nurse with almost 25 years’ experience was released by her hospital after her request for a religious exemption was denied. “To say that this has been a stressful and heartbreaking situation would be an understatement. I miss my co-workers, I miss my patients. And if I’m being honest, it’s a real loss for [the hospital]. I’m very good at my job,” she said.
- “I am fearful I will lose my job … I honestly don’t know where or what else I’d want to do for a living. My heart is broken, I feel defeated. But I am here to find some direction and try to take power back!”
“These are the stories of some of the workers who cared for our friends and family members as they fought the virus. Risking exposure, they treated, counseled and encouraged COVID-positive patients, and kept them company when visitors were prohibited,” said Bucco. “After performing like heroes under horrendous conditions, it is sad to see how these tireless workers are now being treated by the Administration, bullied, strong-armed and threatened.
“The Governor has taken too much from New Jersey, and now he has trampled our health choices and personal freedoms. It is time to give back vaccine choice.”
Recently, Senate Republicans launched the “Give It Back” initiative to give all New Jerseyans an opportunity to tell Governor Murphy in a unified voice to give back everything he has taken from them over the past two years.
More than 4,500 New Jerseyans have signed on to tell Governor Murphy to “Give It Back” at http://www.giveitback.us.