NJ ready to start distributing COVID-19 vaccine next week
TRENTON — Doses of the COVID-19 vaccine could become available in New Jersey as soon as early next week state Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said Friday.
The U.S. gave the final go-ahead Friday to the nation’s first COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer after the White House pushed the FDA to approve it. Persichilli said the turnaround time once final approval is given, and the Centers for the Disease Control and Prevention sign off, is just 24 hours.
She predicted that could mean the first doses of the vaccine will administered Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, she said Friday during a news conference alongside Gov. Phil Murphy.
Health care workers and residents at long-term care facilities are expected to be the first groups to get the vaccine.
Six hospitals across the state will have the vaccine “pre-positioned" so they can begin administering soon after approval is granted, she said.
She didn't specify which hospitals they were, but the state's approach to tracking hospitalizations from the vaccine has centered on northern, central and southern regions, suggesting the hospitals would be located around the state.
New Jersey, like the rest of the country, has seen a resurgence of the virus, with daily caseloads climbing above their highest points in the spring. The rolling weekly average has also ticked up steadily.
On Friday, Murphy reported an addition 55 deaths, putting the total at 15,794.
He also announced that 10 bars and restaurants were having their liquor licenses suspended because they failed to follow coronavirus guidelines.
“Let these charges send a perfectly clear signal to any bar or restaurant owner who thinks this won’t happen to you,” he said, adding that most proprietors were following the guidelines.
Bars and restaurants are limited to 25% capacity indoors and must close from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. under executive orders Murphy has signed.
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