According to Gov. Phil Murphy, the state will be making a “quantum jump” in COVID-19 vaccine supplies during the weeks of March 29 and April 5 as doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine come fully on line and both Pfizer and Moderna increase the production of their respective vaccines.
At today’s COVID-19 press briefing, the governor said the state will show incremental vaccine supply improvements over the coming three weeks, but as it stands, “New Jersey is moving ahead of nearly every other state in getting our residents vaccinated,” Murphy said.
The governor discussed statistics revealing that New Jersey is 8th among all states in doses administered daily, averaging of 67,000 doses per day. It is 10th in total doses given and in the top 12 in vaccine throughput; from delivery of vaccine supplies to shots in the arms of residents.
“We are also above the national average in terms of the percentage of our population that has received both first and second dose shots … keep in mind we are the 11th most populous state, so we have a lot more ground to cover than many other states ahead of us,” Murphy said.
Though the state still falls short of the needed vaccine supply to meet the maximum capability of its vaccine delivery system, the governor stated: “Make no mistake, every New Jerseyan who wishes to be vaccinated will soon be vaccinated. This is our goal and promise.”
Murphy said that President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan will provide a boost for the state in achieving its vaccination goals, while providing financial relief for residents, businesses, plus state and local governments.
The bill has been approved by the U.S. Senate and now goes back to the House of Representatives, which will review the Senate changes. The House already passed its own version of the bill and is expected to vote on the Senate’s version tomorrow. President Biden is expected to sign the bill within days.
The package includes $1,400 for individuals and $2,400 for couples who file joint tax returns (based on income limits). Murphy said this money will help relieve the financial stress many working and middle-classes families are living under.
The package will also “help small businesses, especially restaurants, bars and small performance venues … meaning more of them will be able to keep their doors open and weather whatever remains of this pandemic,” Murphy said.
For those out of work, the extension of the additional $300 weekly federal unemployment benefit, on top of their state unemployment benefit, will be an important and critical lifeline, the governor said.
He added that nearly $3 billion in federal relief for county and local governments, which have incurred tremendous costs in keeping their communities and residents safe during the pandemic, will relieve the burden on property taxpayers who will not have to shoulder all of the extra costs.
In other news, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a new guidance today, saying that people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 can meet together in small groups (indoors) without wearing masks and social distancing.
According to State Epidemiologist Christina Tan, “There are a lot of different scenarios covered within this new guidance. We anticipate that, perhaps within the next several days or so, we will be able to revise some of our guidelines to reflect or align with the new CDC guidelines.”
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