Tomorrow will be a “momentous day,” according to Gov. Phil Murphy, as he will visit Newark’s University Hospital where the first doses of Pfizer BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine will be given to a number of the hospital’s healthcare workers. The doses will be the first COVID-19 vaccines administered in New Jersey.
“It is a day we have all been waiting for,” the governor said.
The vaccine includes two doses, the second of which will be administered three weeks after the first.
University Hospital’s COVID-19 vaccine clinic at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School is located adjacent to the University Hospital campus in Newark, and is staffed and structured in accordance with guidance provided by state and federal health officials. The facility has a potential daily capacity of at least 600 vaccinations.
“As the morning continues, our other hospitals and health systems statewide will begin vaccinating their frontline healthcare workers as well,” Murphy said. “We are confident in the safety and efficacy of this Pfizer BioNtech vaccine, and the review conducted by the vaccine advisory panel.”
Roughly 2.9 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be shipped to vaccination sites around the country, with New Jersey set to receive about 76,000 doses in its first batch.
Healthcare workers and long-term-care facility residents and staff remain “top priority” for initial vaccinations, according to Murphy, who added that he hopes that Moderna’s vaccine will also be approved for emergency use later this week.
“Our hopes are that as one group of vaccine recipients receive their second dose, a new [group] of recipients will be receiving their first. This overlap will allow us to ensure our vaccine progress,” Murphy said.
New Jersey has seen 4,805 new COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, with hospitals in the state currently treating 3,635 patients. Additionally, for the first time since May, there are more than 700 individuals in intensive care units (704 currently).
“These numbers will not magically turn to zero because we are about to provide our first vaccinations,” Murphy said.
The goal, according to the governor, is to get 70% of New Jersyans vaccinated, which would be roughly 4.7 million people. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in New Jersey, adult annual flu vaccination rates are estimated at just 42%.
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