New Jersey now will offer COVID-19 vaccinations to all of its first responders, as police and firefighters lead the next sub-group of the vaccine program, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Wednesday.

At a state briefing on pandemic response, Murphy said the focus remains on that 1A group, largely made of healthcare personnel and those who are in health care settings, including long term care facilities.

State Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli clarified that the latest addition of first responders means the program is entering its 1B phase and is made possible based on supply.

The health commissioner also clarified that the launch of the 1B phase of vaccinations is an overlap of ongoing efforts with those qualified as part of the 1A group.

On Monday, Persichilli had noted that more than 405,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine had arrived at vaccination sites across the state.

So far, the state has confirmed that 137,829 vaccine doses have been administered as of Wednesday, Murphy said.

More than 450,000 people pre-registered for COVID-19 vaccine access on the first day of the state’s online portal going live, Murphy noted.

“We know the process wasn’t perfect for folks who tried to pre-register,” he said. "That number alone gives us great optimism.”

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