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Should New Jersey Issue A COVID Vaccine Mandate For State Workers, Teachers? Voters Weigh In As Race For Governor Nears Finish Line

RUTHERFORD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- The race for governor in the Garden State is nearing the finish line.

New poll numbers out Wednesday show New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy maintains a lead over Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli.

One topic voters are talking about -- whether or not a state worker and teacher vaccine mandate should be in place, similar to New York City.

In Newark, New Jersey's largest city, city employees must be vaccinated; there's no testing option.

Same goes for Rutgers University employees. The school just announced this week that workers have until Dec. 8 to get vaccinated, though only about 10% of the nearly 26,000 employees remain unvaccinated.

But state workers and teachers can be vaccinated or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing.

A hot topic going into the election -- should there be a vaccine mandate for state workers and teachers?


It seems both candidates are on the same page for the time being.

"I feel very good about the package we have in place right now. We've made every call based on science, fact and data, and we have not let politics ever creep into this, and we won't. That is a commitment I will make, whether it's before Tuesday, after Tuesday, win, lose or draw," Murphy said.

"I'm vaccinated. I promoted my vaccination and I encourage people strongly to get vaccinated. But do I believe that government has a right to tell people they have to take the vaccination? I don't," Ciattarelli said.

CBS2's Alice Gainer asked some voters what they thought about a state worker and teacher vaccine mandate.

"Yes. Yes, they should or we're never gonna end this," one person said.

"It's a very touchy subject. I still think, I don't believe in mandates," Rutherford resident Steven Incekara said.

"It's up to the individual to make that decision," Lodi resident Fay Collins said.

"I myself got vaccinated, but I wouldn't force it on someone else," said John Kurpick, of Wayne.

"We feel everybody should be vaccinated," another person said.

"I think everybody should be vaccinated, but I don't think cities or state should have control to mandate vaccinations," said Adam Paster, of Westfield.

"I support the vaccine, so if you're gonna be a public worker, it's kinda hard to say that you shouldn't be a part of it," Totowa resident Matthew Vasile said.

When it comes to the governor's race, the final Monmouth University poll shows 50% of registered voters support Murphy while 39% support Ciattarelli.

The poll was done by telephone from Oct. 21-25 with 1,000 registered voters.

When asked Wednesday whether he would mandate vaccinations for school children, such as in California, Murphy said there were no plans to do that.


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