UPDATE: Major expansion of N.J. COVID vaccine eligibility starts tomorrow. Here are the details.
New Jersey will expand the COVID vaccine eligibility to people 65 and older within days following a change in federal guidelines, Gov. Phil Murphy said Wednesday morning.
“We were already headed in that direction and we’ll have news on that midday,” Murphy said during a live interview on PIX-11. “You should assume we’ll be all over that and we’re going to open this up. I’m happy and gratified the CDC has come to the same conclusion. It’ll be very soon, in the next day or two.”
Murphy has a 1 p.m. coronavirus briefing scheduled for Wednesday in Trenton.
The expansion could lead to lengthy wait times for appointments of up to eight weeks depending on how quickly the state can get additional doses.
“I cant give you a specific day, but I’d say you’re getting vaccinated in the next six to eight weeks… so by the end of February,” Murphy said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box”
Murphy said the state still needs additional supply of the vaccine from the federal government. At least 243,734 doses have been administered, according to the state dashboard. New Jersey has received 654,900 doses, according to the CDC’s tracker.
The federal government on Tuesday changed its recommendations on vaccines and asked states to start vaccinating people age 65 and over as well as younger people who have underlying conditions that put them at higher risk for a negative outcome should they get the virus.
So far, the state has only given vaccines to those in the 1a category — health care workers, nursing home residents and staff — and to police and fire personnel, who are part of Phase 1b. Prisoners have also been vaccinated.
The state’s previously announced plans said some or all groups in 1b would be next. That includes adults who are over age 75, other first responders, food service workers, educators, support staff and daycare workers, public transit workers and workers who support radio, print, internet and television news and media services, according to the state’s updated 188-page vaccination plan released in December.
Other “critical” and “essential” workers are also included in 1b, the plan said.
The state’s Phase 1c was scheduled to come next, including people between the ages of 16 and 64 with high-risk conditions.