University Hospital to mandate COVID-19 vaccine booster for workers who got J&J shot

University Hospital in Newark said Wednesday that employees who received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine for COVID-19 are mandated to receive their booster shot by Friday, Dec. 24.

It became the first hospital in New Jersey to mandate COVID-19 vaccination among all its employees in June.

The decision comes after last week’s approval by the CDC and FDA to include approval for immediate access to booster shots by employees of acute care hospitals, such as University Hospital.

All employees who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as their primary vaccination will have the option to receive their choice of one of the three approved COVID-19 vaccines, as federal guidance allows for the “mix and match” of primary vaccination injections and the booster.

Eligible employees include those who have: a gap of six months for those who originally received the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine series or two months for the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccination.

“Data and analysis indicate that a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine may no longer confer a level of effectiveness that prevents COVID-19 infection in enough of our employees if they are exposed, which has implications on our ability to keep vulnerable patients and families safe,” Dr. Shereef Elnahal, CEO and president of University Hospital, said in a statement on the hospital’s website. “Our rationale for mandating primary
vaccinations was to keep all of our employees, vulnerable patients, families and communities safe by limiting the spread of COVID-19.”