Amid frustrations, reasons to be hopeful about NJ vaccine rollout
As frustrations mount over the lack of vaccine and inability of most to get an appointment, there are some encouraging signs.
Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli says be patient, and "keep trying," if you have not been able to schedule an appointment to get a COVID-19 vaccination. She says you can reserve your place in line by registering at the state's COVID vaccination website.
While Persichilli touted the opening of a new vaccination hotline, she also conceded they cannot yet actually schedule an appointment for you. The hotline was overwhelmed with tens of thousands of calls in the first few hours of operation. Vaccine demand still far outpaces supply.
However, millions more doses are expected in the pipeline soon. Joe Biden upped his goal of 100 million doses in the first 100 days of his presidency and vowed anyone who wants a shot should be able to get one this spring. The president insisted the nation is on pace to administer 1.6 million vaccinations a day as supply increases.
New Jersey has also ramped up distribution sites. There are six mega-vaccination sites statewide. The Rowan College site in South Jersey had to be closed on Monday because they did not have enough vaccine supply. A number of pharmacy chains, including CVS and Walgreens, have announced they will eventually be vaccinating New Jersey residents. Walmart and Sam's Club also announced 12 locations in New Jersey where they will inoculate state residents, eventually.
Aside from President Biden's efforts to increase supply to individual states like New Jersey, a third vaccine candidate is on the verge of approval. White House advisor Anthony Fauci told MSNBC he expects federal approval of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine within two weeks. If that happens, the New Brunswick-based pharma giant is expected to deliver 100 million doses by April.
How many doses would be headed to New Jersey is unknown, but any increase in supply would aid in the goal of vaccinating 70% of the adult population and getting back to some sense of normalcy. Only about half a million state residents have received the vaccine to date.
More N.J. Top News:
- Merck gives up on it's COVID vaccines.
- Moderna testing possible booster shot for South African COVID mutation.
- As another school district announces no return to class, Gov. Murphy changes guidance in hopes of getting more classrooms open for instruction.
- Parental frustrations over school closures boiling over.
- More MVC closures, and legislation to extend expiration dates on MVC documents.
- Calls grow for the suspension of state Corrections Commissioner amid reports of inmate beatings at the N.J. prison for women.
Where to get COVID-19 vaccine in NJ