"You've seen from other places that have implemented vaccine mandates that they work, that workers do step up and get their vaccines despite lots of anxiety before the deadline," Philadelphia Acting Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole said during a Wednesday press briefing.
University staff, students and faculty and workers in hospitals and long-term health care facilities will need to receive at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by Friday, Oct. 15, rather than being required to be fully vaccinated by that day.
They will need to receive their second dose, if they get Moderna or Pfizer, by Nov. 15.
"Hospital, long-term care facility (workers) and university staff, students and faculty who don't have approved exemptions and who don't have that first dose by Oct. 15, next Friday, or, if required, their second dose by Nov. 15 would be out of compliance, and could not work or study in those settings," Bettigole said.
All other health care workers, except for those in hospitals or long-term care facilities, will have one additional week beyond that accommodation, until Oct. 22, to receive at least one dose of the COVID -19 vaccine. They would have to get their second dose by Nov. 22, and would need to be tested twice weekly until they're fully vaccinated.
"My hope is that this additional time will help to get all of these workers over the last hurdles to accepting vaccination," Bettigole said.
The acting health commissioner added if a business or institution wants to be stricter with their vaccine policy, they can be.
"If you want to make it super easy to remember, think of it this way," Bettigole said, "if you're not vaccinated, get vaccinated today, and then you don't have to worry about any of these deadlines."
The deadline for city workers to be vaccinated or double mask was in September. Right now, only 32% of workers have uploaded their vaccine cards.
"I think that the system is a little bit cumbersome. My understanding from many city workers is they prefer to continue to mask so I don't think their incentive to give us their information is that high since they want to stay masked," said Bettigole.
Dr. Bettigole also provided deadlines for those who want to be fully vaccinated by Thanksgiving, Nov. 25.
You would need to receive your first dose of the Moderna vaccine by Oct. 13, which is next Wednesday. You would get your second dose by Nov. 10 and be fully vaccinated by the holiday.
Or you would need to receive your first dose of the Pfizer vaccine by Oct. 20, the following Wednesday. You would get your second dose by Nov. 10 and be fully vaccinated by the holiday.
Or you would need to receive the Johnson and Johnson vaccine by Nov. 10 in order to be fully vaccinated by Thanksgiving.
"But really, why wait? If you want a single dose of J&J, or you want Pfizer or Moderna, there are clinics and pharmacies all across the city that would be delighted to see you today. Then you don't have to worry about those holiday deadlines," Bettigole said.
Vaccine mandate in New Jersey
There are new vaccine mandates in New Jersey, too. The state is asking schools to send data on a weekly basis.
"This reporting will give us a more complete picture of the cases and vaccination rates among students and staff," said Governor Phil Murphy.
All school staff, including bus drivers, have until October 18 to be fully vaccinated.
"We're doing all we can to ensure that the school day is as safe as possible for all of our kids, and that commitment begins at the bus stop," said Murphy.
REMINDER: Our executive order requiring all school staff to be either fully vaccinated by October 18th or face regular testing includes ALL bus drivers.— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) October 6, 2021
We’re doing all we can to ensure that school day is as safe as possible – and that commitment begins at the school bus stop. pic.twitter.com/tCNAIeb5qM