NJ Top News 12/16: Will Return to Normal Lure More to Get Vaccinated?
New Jersey is about to embark on a public information campaign to convince you to get a novel coronavirus vaccination. It's likely going to be a tough sell.
Both national and New Jersey polling data suggest a great deal of skepticism surrounding the vaccines that have been rushed to market less than a year after the pandemic began. A new national poll does show more Americans willing to take the shot, but it remains to be seen if that will be true in New Jersey. In order to end the pandemic and return to some sense of normalcy, national health officials say we need 75% of the adult population to be vaccinated. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has set a goal of 70%.
In the latest Rutgers-Eagleton Poll, almost half of respondents said they would "probably" or "definitely" not get vaccinated. Of those, the majority worried about potential side effects. We had been seeing similar numbers in various national polls, but a new survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows more Americans are growing less reluctant. Just over a quarter of respondents said they would "probably" or "definitely" not get the vaccine. 71% say the would definitely get it, which is up from 63% in the same poll taken in August and September. Even skepticism among Republicans is waning, with more than half saying they will now get vaccinated.
If those numbers are true, the U.S. would be on pace to meet national vaccination goals. New Jersey would fall well short, and jeopardize the possibility we could see a somewhat normal summer and fall season in 2021.
After the first Pfizer vaccine was given to an emergency room nurse at University Hospital in Newark on Tuesday, New Jersey Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli began a public campaign to convince you to roll up your sleeve and take the shot. Calling COVID-19 "the biggest enemy we have ever fought," Persichilli insisted the vaccination was both safe and effective. The commissioner acknowledged there was rush to approve a vaccine, but says it was found safe in 10s of thousands of people enrolled in clinical trials.
Thousands of doses of the Pfizer vaccine are being given to frontline workers in New Jersey. Public vaccinations are on hold due to limited numbers of vaccine doses. However, the FDA. is close to approving a second vaccine. Initial data suggests the Moderna vaccine is safe and up to 94% effective. It could be approved as early as Friday. Murphy says New Jersey has already been in contact with Moderna for delivery of its drug in the weeks ahead. For now, doses continue to be rationed to frontline healthcare workers and nursing home residents, but Murphy still hopes to begin mass vaccinations by the spring.
A third vaccine is also on a path to approval by the FDA. Johnson & Johnson hopes to present its findings to drug regulators in January or February, with approval by March. The J&J vaccine could be the real game-changer. It does not require the deep cold storage needed for the Pfizer and Moderna drugs. It also is a single dose, as opposed to two separate shots weeks apart. Early data, however, suggests the J&J vaccine may not be as effective of existing drugs.
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