New Jersey residents 65 and older, as well as those from 16 to 64 with serious medical conditions such as cancer, heart and kidney disease, can begin to be vaccinated with the COVID-19 shot on Thursday, Gov. Phil Murphy said Wednesday.
Murphy said the decision stemmed from a few factors, including what he said was a “strong appetite” for expanding the vaccine among the state's 71 hospitals, along with guidance from the Trump administration and “signals” from the incoming Joe Biden White House.
New Jersey has vaccinated 264,000 people, out of about 400,000 vaccines initially distributed to the state, according to Health Department data.
So far, 220 of more than 600 nursing homes have completed vaccinations, the governor said. That totals about 28,500 people.
Not sure how the process works? Check here for a list of vaccine sites in the tri-state area and details on how to register if you're eligible for shots
Murphy wants to have nearly 5 million New Jerseyeans inoculated by June. He said he's more confident about the federal supply as the Biden administration nears and hopes the tide will have turned by summer's start.
But for now, supply remains an issue. In Bergen County, for example, there is a waiting list of 37,000 people who have pre-registered, including police and fire personnel. At the moment, the county has just 1,000 doses or fewer on hand. County officials are pleased to have so much interest from the 65+ age group, when the governor gives the official OK, but says they'll have to get in line.
Tracking Coronavirus in Tri-State
At the same time he announced the vaccine program expansion, Murphy reported yet another new single-day pandemic case record (6,922 new positive PCR tests and another 1,265 positive antigen tests for a total of 8,187) in New Jersey. He also added another 20 or so hospitalizations to the count (3,726).
New York has also battled steep viral increases lately. As of Wednesday, more than 8,900 were hospitalized statewide. The Empire State hasn't topped 9,000 total COVID hospitalizations since May 5. At the same time, its progress is threatened by more contagious virus strains like the one first identified in the UK. As of Wednesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo reported 15 total cases, an increase of three in 24 hours and nearly double the number he reported on Saturday.
New Jersey has yet to detect the UK strain locally, but Murphy has been operating under the assumption that it is in the Garden State and has been for some time.
When Could I Get the Vaccine?
Answer the questions to calculate your risk profile and see where you fall in your county's and state's vaccine lineup. This estimate is based on a combination of vaccine rollout recommendations from the CDC and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.
For a more detailed breakdown of who is included in each priority group, see this methodology.
Source: the Vaccine Allocation Planner for COVID-19 by Ariadne Labs and the Surgo Foundation
Interactive by Amy O’Kruk/NBC