TRENTON, NJ -- Gov. Phil Murphy announced during his COVID-19 press briefing Wednesday that nearly half a million New Jersey residents have pre-registered to receive the coronavirus vaccine and that additional vaccine distribution centers will open. He also made a plea for retired health care professionals to volunteer to help with the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine in the state.

"More than 450,000 New Jerseyans preregistered for their #COVID19 vaccinations yesterday – the day our portal went live," Murphy said. "This number gives us great optimism as we continue to roll out our robust statewide vaccine program. The reason you register is that your name is in the system. You'll be given to option of where to get it."

Murphy and NJ Health Commissioner Persichilli plan to be in North Jersey on Friday visiting two vaccination centers that are opening: Hospital Rockaway Townsquare Mall in Morris County, which is operating in partnership with Atlantic Health, and Hospital Essex County vaccination center in West Orange. Additionally, the state's second vaccine mega-site will open at Rowan College in South Jersey on Friday.

Sign Up for Hamilton/Robbinsville Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

"Our top priority remains vaccinating New Jerseyans in the 1a category, which includes our front line health care workers, and residents and staff at our long-term care centers," Murphy said. "Effective tomorrow, police and fire professionals will be eligible to receive their #COVID19 vaccinations."

The governor hopes to have additional help at these centers so that shots can distribute the vaccine more efficiently. Retired health care professionals with vaccination skills can volunteer with the New Jersey Medical Reserve Corps by registering at today.

"New Jersey is actively looking for retired health care professionals with vaccination skills to volunteer with the New Jersey Medical Reserve Corps. We need you," Murphy said.

Follow us on Facebook and sign up for TAPinto Hamilton/Robbinsville E-News alerts to be the first to read about all things local!

Download the FREE TAPinto App!  Click here for Android - Click here for iOS for breaking news, traffic/weather alerts and special offers.

Know a story we should share with readers? Email editor Elizabeth Meyers and tell her about it.