More vaccine doses headed to New Jersey, elsewhere

During a week when the state announced two of its mega sites would not open for a day because of a lack of supply of COVID-19 vaccines, New Jersey appears to be in line to get an increased amount of the vaccine from suppliers.

President Joe Biden announced Tuesday afternoon that the federal government has purchased 200 million more vaccine doses and will increase distribution to states by millions of doses next week.

Biden, calling the fight against COVID-19 a wartime undertaking, said there now will be enough doses to fully vaccinate 300 million Americans — almost the entire population — by the end of summer or early fall.

“We now have a national strategy to beat COVID-19,” he said. “It’s comprehensive. It’s based on science, not politics. It’s based on truth, not denial, and it is detailed.”

The U.S. will buy 100 million more doses from Pfizer and 100 million more from Moderna. Both are working to step up production, and Biden said the additional doses will be available this summer.

Meanwhile, all signs indicate New Brunswick-based Johnson & Johnson likely is headed for approval for its vaccine later next month. That would be a game-changer, as the J&J vaccine only requires one shot to be effective.

The news on the increase of vaccines came on a day another grim milestone was reached: The state reported 4,117 new positive PCR tests for COVID-19, pushing the cumulative number over 600,000, at 602,660.

The state also announced 133 more confirmed fatalities. And, while that brings the total number to just 16 fatalities short of 19,000, the actual number of deaths related to COVID-19 is much higher. The state currently estimates there are 2,121 fatalities that most likely were caused by COVID-19.

The good news is, the state’s rate of transmission — which had been running close to 1.10 — is back well below the 1.0 mark, at 0.92.

Of course, more vaccine doses would help all of this.

On Tuesday, the state’s mega site at the Meadowlands in Bergen County was closed due to lack of supply. On Monday, the mega site at Rowan College of South Jersey in Gloucester County was closed due to lack of supply.