NJ Provides Little Detail About COVID Booster Shots
Even though state officials say they have been planning to administer COVID vaccine booster shots for months, they are sharing few details about how the process will work.
Will nursing home residents be given priority? Will healthcare workers? Can you get the booster at any location? Will the mega-vaccination sites reopen?
Governor Phil Murphy's administration was answering none of those questions Thursday as federal health officials announced their recommendation for a vaccine booster shot eight months after receiving the second dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. They did not recommend a second dose of the one-shot J&J vaccine.
A spokeswoman for the NJ Department of Health told NJ.com "details will be forthcoming" on the state's plans.
Presumably, nursing home residents and healthcare workers will be the first eligible to get the booster, since they were the first to get the initial dose when vaccines were approved for emergency use last December.
The New Jersey Hospital Association issued a statement supporting the booster program, and saying healthcare workers should get priority. “We are prepared to get shots in the arms of all eligible hospital staff, who may come into contact with COVID-positive patients and, therefore, remain at high risk of contracting the virus,” said NJHA President Cathy Bennett.
The planning for booster shots comes when demand for initial doses has plummeted in New Jersey. While more than 5.4 million residents are considered fully vaccinated, millions have gone unvaccinated. To date, New Jersey has administered over 10.7 million doses of COVID vaccine.
Those that administer COVID vaccines are also in the dark as to the state's plans. RWJBarnabas Health ran one of the state's now-closed mega sites. They referred questions to the health department. So did Hackensack Meridian Health, which ran another of the mega sites.
CVS Pharmacy has already begun giving booster shots to those with compromised immune systems, and says they are ready to do so for the general public but are awaiting further guidance from the Murphy administration.