Gov. Phil Murphy said he doesn’t have any definitive dates, but he expects the state will get approximately 75,000 doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine next week and up to 500,000 doses of vaccines by the end of the month.
The monthly figure includes expected shipments of the vaccine by Moderna, too.
“Several New Jersey hospitals are prepositioning to receive the first shipments of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine,” Murphy said. “We anticipate that the first distribution will include a total of 76,000 doses.”
The governor is expecting that, once that initial shipment goes out, similar shipments will be made weekly for the foreseeable future. The plan is in place and, now, the state is just waiting for the vaccine to receive its Emergency Use Authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Remember, both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses, received 3-4 weeks apart.
As for distribution, Murphy said all New Jerseyans will be automatically opted-in to the New Jersey Immunization Information System, which will help the state track the information on every person who receives a vaccination in the months following their injection.
That, however, does not mean everyone needs to be vaccinated.
“Let me be perfectly clear: this order does not force anyone to receive the vaccine,” Murphy said. “Although we are going to be strongly recommending it, assuming we put our good housekeeping stamp-of-approval on it. And we will.”
The governor cites this move as an extension of former Gov. Jim McGreevey’s order that placed anyone born past 1998 in the NJIIS automatically. Any residents who wish to remove their information from this system can do so 30 days after the emergency health crisis authorization from the governor has ended.
Record number of new cases
Murphy announced New Jersey is reporting a staggering 5,673 new confirmed positive COVID-19 cases Friday. It’s the first time the state has surpassed 5,000 new cases — and it obviously did it with ease.
The governor also reported 48 confirmed deaths added to the COVID death total. That total now sits at 15,419, with an additional 1,836 probable deaths.
The numbers were not all bad. While 385 patients were admitted to hospitals, 362 were released — meaning it was a net gain of just 23 patients, furthering the idea that hospital stays are much shorter.
Another positive: The rate of transmission (which is how many new cases a case brings) is at 1.05, close to the goal of less than 1.0.
In total, the state now has had 356,662 cases confirmed since the start of the pandemic.
Other hospital metrics:
- In hospital: 3,315 (3,073 confirmed, 242 awaiting confirmation);
- In ICU: 615;
- On ventilators: 386;
- Rate of transmission: 05;
- Positivity rate: 42% (from Nov. 30).
Young Republican Club event
Murphy ripped the New York Young Republican Club for holding an in-person gala at Maritime Parc in Jersey City. Social media posts showed hundreds of attendees, with no masks or social distancing being practiced. The event was supposed to be held in New York City, but had to change locations last minute due to COVID restrictions.
“I can’t believe this,” Murphy said, laughing to himself. “It is beyond the pale that anyone would willingly endanger people in another state, let alone their own … they should be ashamed of themselves.”
The gala had a few high-profile Republicans in its midst. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was scheduled to speak, but after dropping out last minute, was replaced by U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida.
Murphy had a few words for the Gaetz, introducing him initially as Matt “Putz.”
“Based on his past performances, it is obvious being a knucklehead is not beyond the pale for him. What a fool. I hope you’re watching, Matt. You are not welcome in New Jersey, and, frankly, I don’t ever want you back in this state.”