While states throughout the Northeast and around country are moving to open COVID-19 vaccination for all adults, Gov. Phil Murphy was reluctant to budge off the May 1 deadline President Joe Biden has set for loosening the requirements.
Speaking on CNBC on Friday morning, Murphy noted that retail workers and longshoremen will be eligible to get the vaccine on March 28 — and said that’s the week the state expects to get a much larger allotment of doses, but he did not directly answer when vaccines will be open to all.
“That’s going to be a week the Biden administration has pointed to where supplies of vaccine doses are going to be getting to go up dramatically,” he said. “If so, that’s going to be great news. And we’ll be in a position in New Jersey, as the president has laid a marker down that, by May 1, if you want to sign up to get vaccinated. We want everybody in our state at that point eligible.”
Connecticut opened vaccinations to anyone over 45 today — and has said the vaccine will be open to all residents April 5. Rhode Island said all residents will be eligible April 19.
Murphy has been meticulous about who is eligible to be vaccinated. And, to be clear, even he has not skipped the line. At 63, he does not yet meet the age requirement.
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A spokesperson confirmed Friday that the governor has not received the vaccine and that he is waiting until he is eligible.
And, although Murphy has not announced an earlier date for open vaccinations, he also has not ruled it out.
Murphy, speaking on “Squawk Box,” said he’s happy about the number of residents that have received at least one shot of the vaccine — saying the state will pass 3.3 million Friday. But Murphy said he’s not happy about the positive rate or the number of residents hospitalized.
“We’ve come down dramatically (from the) hospitalizations and positivity rates we saw a couple of months ago, but it’s still uncomfortably too high,” he said. “We still have almost 2,000 people in hospitals, our weekday positivity rate is typically plus or minus 7%.”
The state’s COVID-19 dashboard — with 70 of 71 hospitals reporting — said there were 1,926 patients hospitalized on Friday morning, with 405 in the ICU and 221 on ventilators.
“We watch all this like a hawk, particularly the hospitalizations,” he said.