Murphy: Unwillingness to get vaccinated is selfish, akin to drunk driving

Governor says those not getting the shot put others at risk

Gov. Phil Murphy didn’t hold back when he was asked Monday if people who failed to get vaccinated were selfish.

“I think it’s a shirking of our collective responsibility,” he said. “I do think it’s akin to drunk driving. You’re not only putting yourself at risk; you’re putting other people at risk.”

The question came during the governor’s COVID-19 briefing, during the Q&A portion.

Murphy said, with limited exceptions, that it is a selfish act that puts many others — most notably nurses and other health care professionals — at risk.

“I think it is selfish,” he said. “I think there are obviously some people who have a legitimate reason that they’re not vaccinated or boosted, so I’m going to put that group aside.”

New Jersey has been one of the stronger states in terms of the initial round of vaccinations, as a little more than 3 out of every 4 people eligible are participating.

Murphy, however, said the percentage of those getting the booster shot is meaningfully lower than it needs to be, he said.

Approximately 2.69 million of the just under 5 million people eligible for the booster shot have received one.

State Sen. Michael Testa (R-Cape May Court House), took exception to Murphy’s comments.

“Gov. Murphy is absolutely wrong to compare being unvaccinated to driving drunk, especially when Omicron is both infecting and being transmitted by vaccinated people at high rates,” he said. “It’s telling that he’s now resorting to increasingly extreme rhetoric to try to justify his unpopular and unscientific vaccine mandates.”

Murphy said there was good news: The metrics related to the Omicron variant are going in the right direction, particularly the rate of transmission, which is 0.64 — or well below the 1.0 barrier that is used to indicate whether the virus is on the rise or decline.

But even that comes with an issue: The more the numbers go down, the more residents may feel a booster isn’t necessary, Murphy said.