NEW JERSEY — Gov. Phil Murphy said Tuesday he expects the progress made so far in the state’s vaccine rollout to be given a much-needed push forward by the Joe Biden administration once the President-elect is sworn in on Wednesday.
So far, the state has had to reckon with delays in the arrival of doses from the federal government and thus large segments of the population left waiting for their turn in line.
“We know that there is pent-up demand, that getting an appointment may be proving challenging. However, with the incoming Biden administration taking office tomorrow and a new federal focus on pushing vaccines out at a greater pace, we are hopeful that we'll be able to start ramping up our in state capabilities to meet what we know is a tremendous demand,” Murphy said during a virtual update in Trenton.
As of mid-morning Tuesday, New Jersey has administered 388,160 vaccinations at 130 sites statewide. The governor said more than 100 “are coming online soon” but would not go into detail.
Over 50,000 of the 214,000 vaccine shots committed to long-term care facilities have been administered.
Speaking on how CVS and Walgreens, federal partners entrusted with part of the vaccine efforts, Murphy said, "They're working through their appointments, but they need to punch at a higher rate, especially Walgreens.”
Ten months into the pandemic, he extended the public health emergency for another 30 days - the eleventh time he’s done so.
Over a million people have pre-registered on the state’s vaccine site, officials said.
Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said residents - who got the first dose but have not received word about a second shot - should contact the state. A hotline has been set up at 855-568-0545 in both English and Spanish, with a call center scheduled for launch next week.
“When more slots open up, we are asking the public to be patient because supply of vaccine is limited. It may be some time before you receive an invitation to make an appointment, even if you are currently eligible,” Persichilli said, a week after the state expanded those who qualified for priority.
“With the expansion of eligibility into more categories, there are now many more people who are eligible to get vaccinated but our vaccine supply is still very limited and will be for some time,” she continued.
At the moment the state is inoculating patients with either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, both of which require two doses. Towards the end of press conference, Murphy said the approval of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine - expected to just require one dose - would be a “game changer.”