New Jersey

NJ Lays Out Plan to Distribute Coronavirus Vaccine Once It's Available

New Jersey has a plan for mass vaccination once a coronavirus vaccine is approved for use

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With the new coronavirus surge in New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy is laying out his administration's plan to roll out a coronavirus vaccine once it is ready.

The first-term Democrat revealed his three-part plan for an "equitable" rollout of a vaccine over time during his virtual Monday coronavirus news briefing.

The state hopes to vaccinate 70% of adults over six months. Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said that would mean vaccinating tens of thousands of people each day.

Murphy said the state submitted its initial vaccine distribution plan to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 10 days ago. He said teams have been working on the distribution plan for months and won't rush anything. Persichilli said that many parties are involved in the plan.

"We’re not going to simply rush forward on COVID-19 vaccines," Murphy said. "We will be methodical and deliberate. Our health experts will be closely reviewing the science and will make the call as to when a vaccine, and which one or ones, will be acceptable for New Jersey."

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Persichilli said that they expect to first get a limited number of vaccines and aren't sure yet how many doses they would get. She said those at risk and front-line health care workers could get the intimal doses.

Murphy said that federal funding will be key to getting the state to its 70% vaccination rate among adults and that if they don't get federal support that it could take years to reach the goal, if at all.

He also said people need to do their part and not be swayed by misinformation about vaccines online. He said building public trust in a vaccine is one of the keys of the plan.

Murphy reminded his state Monday that currently there are no available vaccines that are approved. He said people need to keep wearing masks, stay distant from each other and wash their hands frequently to slow the spread of the virus.

New Jersey has seen a recent surge in coronavirus cases over the past several days with the most cases being reported in North Jersey counties. Another 1,223 people had tested positive for COVID-19 Monday, bringing the statewide total since the start of the pandemic to almost 230,000.

At least 14,503 people are confirmed to have died from coronavirus-related complications, with seven new deaths reported Monday.

Nearly 1,000 people were hospitalized in the state and the positivity rate of people being tested was at 4.48%, with a rate of transmission of 1.23, Murphy and state health officials said.

Murphy said that no measure he would take would help to lower the case counts as long as people let their guards down at private gatherings. He calls it fatigue with social-distancing measures.

Murphy is holding the briefing virtually after he announced last week that he would be quarantining after at least two members of his administration tested positive for COVID-19. On Monday, Murphy said he and his wife, Tammy, had both tested negative, again.

"Out of an abundance of caution, we will continue to hold today’s briefing and many events virtually," he tweeted.

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