New Jersey health care facility workers cannot refuse to receive a flu shot. On January 13, 2020, Governor Phil Murphy enacted N.J.S.A. § 26:2H-18.79, concerning influenza vaccination in New Jersey health care facilities. The statute first provides that, beginning with the onset of the first flu season next following the effective date of the legislation, each health care facility (i.e., general or special hospital, nursing home or home health care agency) must establish and implement an annual flu vaccine program in accordance with the recommendations of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and any rules and regulations adopted in accordance with the statute.
For the purposes of its annual flu vaccine program, each health care facility must annually provide a flu shot to each of its employees and require that each employee at the facility receive a flu shot annually no later than December 31 of the current flu season, which flu shot must be provided by the facility.
A health care facility employee who does not wish to have a flu shot must prove that he or she has a medical exemption, which must be submitted using a form designated by the Department of Health, stating that the flu shot is “medically contraindicated, as enumerated by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” An attestation of a medical exemption is subject to approval by the facility following the facility’s review to confirm that the exemption is consistent with CDC standards. A health care facility must not discharge or reduce the pay of any employee who receives a medical exemption from the annual flu shot requirement.