NJ will give first COVID-19 vaccine shots at University Hospital
Gov. Phil Murphy has confirmed that New Jersey will be distributing its first COVID-19 vaccine shots this week to health care workers and long-term care facility residents and staff.
Murphy said that 76,000 doses would be administered starting on Tuesday morning at University Hospital in Newark, sharing the news on Twitter on Sunday.
The governor said he would be there along with Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli, who had said on Friday that the first doses were just days away, pending the federal government's final approval.
University Hospital President and CEO Dr. Shereef Elnahal and Rutgers New Jersey Medical School Dean Dr. Robert Johnson also would be visiting and inspecting the new University Hospital COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School on Tuesday.
Murphy shared details shortly after video of the first truck-loads of Pfizer vaccine leaving
the company's manufacturing facility near Kalamazoo, Michigan, was posted to social media. Pete Muntean of CNN was among reporters that shared footage to Twitter.
The vaccine doses, shipped with precise temperature control by both FedEx and UPS trucks, were expected to arrive in all 50 U.S. states on Monday.
Six hospitals across NJ would have the vaccine “pre-positioned" to begin administering soon after approval was granted, Persichilli previously said.
Other hospitals expected to receive some of the state's first round of COVID-19 vaccine doses were: Hackensack University Medical Center, Morristown Medical Center, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, AtlanticCare/Atlantic City and Cooper Hospital/Camden.
Persichilli also previously has said that about 130,000 Pfizer doses were expected by the third week of December and “will be reserved for paid and unpaid persons serving in healthcare settings who have the potential for direct and indirect exposure to patients or infected materials.”
The state has announced an overall plan to get 70% of NJ's population vaccinated against the virus within the first six months or so of the shots being widely available.
At least one challenge to such a goal has been the reluctance among some residents to be within the first groups of those receiving the new vaccinations, as seen in some public opinion polls.
State officials also are keeping an eye on newer models for what might happen with coronavirus spread during the December holidays.
In "moderate case" scenarios released last week, hospitalizations were expected to peak at 6,333 cases on Jan. 13 under the Department of Health model, and 5,752 cases on Jan. 31 under the Office of Innovation model.
Murphy said that under either scenario — which relied on New Jersey residents continuing to follow pandemic protocols of mask-wearing and social distancing — the state's hospitals would not be overwhelmed.
Also on Sunday, Murphy announced that the state had recorded 4,170 new positive cases based on test results since Saturday, as well as 24 new confirmed COVID-19 deaths, for a cumulative total of 400,650 cases and 15,883 total deaths statewide since last March.
Across the 71 hospitals in New Jersey reporting data daily, there were 3,591 coronavirus patients hospitalized on Sunday, 691 of whom were in intensive care.
The number of confirmed new cases and hospitalizations has been steadily rising for a second time during the pandemic since the end of October, when daily results of both positive tests and hospitalizations reached above 1,000 for the first time since late May-early June, according to state data.
With previous reporting by David Matthau, Michael Symons and Eric Scott