There have been at least 137,829 doses of the vaccine for the coronavirus administered in New Jersey as of Wednesday since the first shots were given three weeks ago, though that may be an undercount due to reporting delays, Gov. Phil Murphy said without providing specifics.
The vast majority of those doses — 135,606 — are the first of two doses people will receive. But health care workers at University Hospital in Newark were the first people in the state to get the second dose of the vaccine on Monday. There have been 2,149 people who have received the second.
Still, Murphy said his administration is all but certain that more people have received shots than what has been reported to the state Department of Health.
There is no question there is a significant amount of underreporting,” the governor said during his latest COVID-19 briefing in Trenton.
Currently, only those who work in health care and those in long-term care facilities and other congregant living settings like prisons are eligible to be vaccinated in the group dubbed “1A.” Starting on Thursday, police and fire professionals will become eligible for the vaccine.
The state has not announced when the second group “1B” would become eligible, but has been prepping six “mega-sites” for vaccinations around the state.
The first two sites are expected to open later this week.
The state’s goal is to vaccinate 70% of New Jersey’s eligible population by May — representing as many as 4.7 million people.
“This is a huge undertaking,” Department of Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said last month during a regular COVID-19 briefing.
The number of vaccines that were officials announced during past briefings that had been dolled out were:
- 46,217 on Dec. 28
- 62,901 on Dec. 30
- 101,417 on Jan. 1
- 137,829 on Wednesday
There are about 650,000 health care workers in the state and Murphy has said people at nursing homes should be fully vaccinated by early February.
New Jersey on Tuesday opened its online preregistration portal for residents to get the COVID-19 vaccine when the eligibility is expanded beyond health care workers and longterm care facilities. More than 450,000 people registered, which overwhelmed the system at times and resulted in error messages.
New Jersey was awarded a little more than 400,000 vaccines in the month of December. Of that, approximately 120,000 doses have been reserved for long-term care facilities and 280,000 doses have been allocated to hospitals and community sites for front-line healthcare workers.
The state was awarded an additional 106,000 for the first week of January, according to the state’s website. Approximately 53,000 of those doses have been reserved for long-term care facilities with another 53,000 being allocated to hospitals and community sites.
New Jersey health officials on Wednesday reported 5,028 new positive tests for the coronavirus and another 104 confirmed deaths as the total number of cases in the state since March surpassed 500,000.
There have been 504,647 positive tests out of the more than 8 million administered in the 10 months since the Garden State recorded its first case on March 4. Since then, there have been 19,523 COVID-19 deaths — 17,464 confirmed and 2,059 probable fatalities from complications related to the virus.