NJ Top News 3/1 – J&J Vax May Hold Key to a Normal Summer
As we start the month of March, New Jersey is just 14% of the way to vaccinating nearly 4.7 million residents. At the current pace, it would be mid-July before the state reached 70% of the adult population being vaccinated. Gov. Phil Murphy has repeatedly said that is the number needed for a full reopening and lifting all restrictions. However, it is still possible to reach that goal before Memorial Day.
The addition of the Johnson & Johnson single dose vaccine into the mix could be the game changer health officials have been waiting for, with Murphy announcing Monday that school, daycare and transportation workers would be added to the front of the vaccine line starting March 15.
J&J, the New Brunswick-based pharma giant, began shipment Sunday night. New Jersey could receive first doses by Tuesday.
The initial shipments will be small, but J&J is promising 100 million doses in the next two months. In addition, steps are being taken to increase production of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. In order to reach the goal of 70% by Memorial Day, New Jersey would need to be vaccinating nearly 80,000 people per day. The state has the capacity to inoculate that many people at state-run mega sites combined with county and local sites, but not the vaccine supply. That could change in the weeks ahead.
New Jersey's vaccine rollout has not gone smoothly and there are growing calls to hit the reset button. New Jersey's registration and appointment scheduling system has been plagued by problems. The so-called COVID hotline has not been reliable in terms of information or scheduling appointments. Hundreds of volunteers have taken it upon themselves to help state residents secure their appointments. "Saturday Night Live" mocked New Jersey giving vaccine priority to smokers.
State Sen. Paul Sarlo, D-Bergen, is calling on the Murphy administration to hit the "reset" button. Sarlo criticized the "bureaucratic and technological logjam of the current vaccine enrollment system.” He is urging the state to send the J&J vaccine, which is easily stored in a refrigerator, directly to local towns. Sarlo, who is also mayor of Wood-Ridge, claimed he could have schools open five days a week with just 200 doses of the J&J vaccine.
More N.J. Top News:
- Lawmakers push for slavery reparation hearings.
- Racial tensions rise in Lakewood after Jewish kids seen wearing blackface and BLM shirts for Purim.
- Mayor says with 200 J&J vaccine doses he could have schools open five days a week.
- Jersey City police officer arrested after prosecutors said he traveled to Atlantic City to have sex with two young girls.
- Ocean County man charged with holding two young dirt bike riders at gunpoint.
- New Jersey may launch a full cannabis tourism industry.
- The state may force E-ZPass to tell you how much they are actually charging you.
- Massive economic stimulus bill set for final approval.
- Many stores report a shortage of pet food.