The state is on the cusp of receiving the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines as the US Food & Drug Administration is expected to, perhaps as soon as tomorrow, give Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine.
State Department of Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said at today’s state COVID-19 press briefing that, “after the EUA is issued, hospitals in our state will receive what we call prepositioned doses.”
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is expected to hold an emergency meeting on Sunday to make its recommendations on a rollout. Once the CDC accepts ACIP’s recommendations, distribution of the vaccine to initial eligible populations can begin within 24 hours, Persichilli said.
She detailed a long list of those who would be eligible to receive the vaccines during phase 1 of the rollout. It will include some 650,000 people who mainly work in healthcare-related fields.
New Jersey’s vaccine planning assumption takes into consideration that there will be limited availability of a vaccine for several months. “Our goal is to vaccinate 70% of the adult population in a six-month period,” Persichilli said. “Our objective is that no vaccine will be left on the shelf.”
At the press briefing, Gov. Phil Murphy said that he has no intention of shutting down indoor dining in New Jersey, following New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s decision to shut down indoor dining in New York City, announced today.
“We are still staying with what we’ve got, which is indoor dining subject to 25% capacity, closing by 10 p.m. is still our policy and what we recommend,” Murphy said.
Murphy maintained that his administration is trying “to be as surgical as we can be” to keep indoor dining open – while also keeping an eye out for establishments that are not following health and safety guidelines.
“If you’re not doing the right thing – it may not be tomorrow – but we’re going to find that out and we’re going to catch up with you and you’re going to pay a price for that,” Murphy said. “But the overwhelming amount of these folks are good actors.”
With Pennsylvania restaurants also closed for indoor dining, Murphy acknowledged there could be “unintended consequences” that “people all of a sudden start coming across the Hudson or the Delaware.” But he also said that was proving to be less of an issue in “anecdotal surveys.”
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