NJ Pushes COVID Vax on Kids as School Outbreaks Grow
Schools in all but two New Jersey counties are reporting at least one COVID outbreak in school.
Governor Phil Murphy announced an additional 27 outbreaks impacting 17 staff and students, but insists this is still "well within our expectations."
Atlantic, Camden, and Monmouth Counties had the highest number of outbreaks. Burlington and Warren Counties are not reporting any outbreaks in their schools.
New Jersey Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said at Wednesday's COVID briefing that the state's attention is focused on increasing vaccination rates among eligible students.
Nearly 6 million people who live, work or study in New Jersey are considered fully vaccinated. The state has among the highest vaccination rates in the nation. Yet Persichilli says only 57.1% of children between the ages of 12-15 have begun their vaccine regimen and "we need to improve that."
The rate is much higher for 16 and 17-year-olds in New Jersey, at 70.1%. Among all students, Persichilli says, "We're working diligently with these schools and local officials in every municipality to identify those individuals (not vaccinated) to try and encourage them and their parents to line up and get the shot."
A push to up vaccination rates among our state's children is in line with renewed efforts from the White House to increase vaccination rates among our nation's youngest residents.
It also comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S Food and Drug Administration are set to begin a review of data on the safety and efficacy of the COVID vaccine in children as young as five.
U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said Wednesday he expects approval in a matter of weeks. "We could hear from both agencies, the FDA and CDC, by early November," Murphy predicted, "We will be ready to implement their recommendations as soon as we hear them."
Both U.S. and state health officials believe the key to keeping schools open to in-person learning is vaccinating all students. In New Jersey that has taken on a renewed sense of urgency with the number of COVID outbreaks growing inside our schools.
Although the state is reporting 96 total outbreaks affecting 521 students and staff members, the actual numbers are likely much higher. Only cases that are linked by contact tracing in school are reported. To get a clearer picture of the true number of infected staff and students, the Murphy administration has directed schools to report all known infections, whether they occurred in school or not.
Current reported COVID outbreaks in school (NJ COVID Dashboard)
- 12 outbreaks in Atlantic County; with 43 linked cases
- 7 outbreak in Bergen County; with 36 linked cases
- 0 outbreaks in Burlington county
- 11 outbreaks in Camden County; with 42 linked cases
- 4 outbreak in Cape May County; with 15 linked cases
- 3 outbreaks in Cumberland County; with 17 linked cases
- 5 outbreaks in Essex County; with 20 linked cases
- 4 outbreak in Gloucester County; with 25 linked cases
- 3 outbreaks in Hudson County; with 12 linked cases
- 3 outbreak in Hunterdon County; with 33 linked cases
- 9 outbreaks in Mercer County; with 39 linked cases
- 10 outbreak in Monmouth County; with 47 linked cases
- 5 outbreaks in Morris County; with 25 linked cases
- 1 outbreak in Middlesex County; with 6 linked cases
- 4 outbreaks in Ocean County; with 17 linked cases
- 2 outbreaks in Passaic County; with 62 linked cases
- 1 outbreaks in Salem County; with 3 linked cases
- 3 outbreaks in Somerset County; with 26 linked cases
- 6 outbreak in Sussex County; with 24 linked cases
- 3 outbreak in Union County; with 29 linked cases
- 0 outbreaks in Warren County