In order to give the public confidence in the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer, New Jersey health officials will be on hand when the vaccine is administered for the first time in the Garden State.
On Dec. 15, Gov. Phil Murphy and New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli will visit and inspect University Hospital’s COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School on the first day the vaccine will be offered.
Anticipating the pending shipment of the coronavirus vaccine from Pfizer, University Hospital has created a COVID-19 vaccine clinic adjacent to its campus in Newark. Staffed and structured in accordance with guidance provided by state and federal health officials, the clinic has the potential daily capacity of at least 600 vaccinations.
Confident in Vaccine
“I’ll be there Tuesday morning at University Hospital in Newark (as we) begin vaccinating our heroic healthcare workers,” Murphy said during an appearance on ABC’s This Week Dec. 13. “The first batch is 76,000—split the first batch between healthcare workers but a good slug between for our long-term care residents and staff.”
The governor said it will take several weeks to get through administering the vaccines to those in the first phase of the state’s plan. Each person will need to get two shots as the vaccine rolls out, Murphy said.
“We believe in these vaccines. They’re safe, they work and we want people to get them,” Murphy said. The governor has previously stated he would receive the vaccine but wanted to make sure the proper protocols were followed before sitting down for one.
In New Jersey, six “prepositioned hospitals”—Hackensack University Medical Center, Morristown Medical Center, University Hospital in Newark, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center in Atlantic City and Cooper University Hospital in Camden—are set to receive the first doses, Persichilli has previously stated.
Under the state’s rollout plans, 650,000 workers in healthcare facilities and long-term care facilities will be eligible under the first phase of vaccination, according to the commissioner. They include those who work in different kinds of healthcare facilities and long-term care facilities.
“I think by April everyone will have access to these vaccines,” stated Murphy.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized an emergency rollout Dec. 11 of the vaccine from Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech. A second vaccine from Moderna is slated for approval and could begin shipping soon. Johnson & Johnson is expected to finish up testing on its vaccine in January 2021.
For the weekend of Dec. 12 and 13, the cumulative number of coronavirus cases in New Jersey reached 400,650 with 10,417 total new cases reported and 95 new deaths, bringing that total to 15,883. The state listed probable deaths at 1,868, bringing the overall total to 17,751.
For North Jersey counties over the weekend, Passaic had a total of 928 new cases, Essex 914 new cases, Bergen 906 new cases, Hudson 799 new cases, Morris 519 new cases, Sussex 128 new cases and Warren 90 new cases.
State officials noted 66 deaths occurred in the last 24 hours of reporting that have not yet been lab confirmed.
Of the total confirmed deaths in North Jersey, Essex County has the most with 2,061, followed by Bergen at 1,948, Hudson with 1,472, Passaic at 1,228, Morris at 741, Sussex at 164 and Warren with 163.
In regards to probable deaths, Bergen has 254, Essex has 234, Hudson has 159, Morris at 157, Passaic at 144, Sussex has 39 and Warren has 13.
The daily rate of infections from those tested Dec. 9 was 10.5%, with the North reporting 10.4%, Central 10.0% and South 11.6% on approximately 40,000 tests. The state is no longer using serology tests as health officials explained those results show a past presence of the disease as well as a current one.
As for the rate of transmission, it remained unchanged at 1.15. Officials have continually cited transmission rate and positivity rate as health data they rely on to track how the coronavirus is being contained in New Jersey, guiding them in determining when restrictions have to be tightened or lifted.
Officials reported 3,591 patients were hospitalized on Dec. 13; by region, there were 1,621 in the North, 1,161 in the Central and 809 in the South.
Of those hospitalized, 691 are in intensive care units and 448 on ventilators, while 864 patients were discharged over the weekend.
Essex Tops County Count
Essex has the most cumulative cases in the state with 41,089, followed by Bergen at 40,483, Hudson at 37,187, Middlesex at 36,739, Passaic at 35,368, Union at 32,383, Ocean at 26,145, Monmouth at 25,288, Camden at 23,633, Burlington at 16,874, Morris at 16,692, Mercer at 16,134, Gloucester at 11,472, Somerset at 10,671, Atlantic at 9,654, Cumberland at 6,218, Sussex at 3,349, Warren at 3,079, Hunterdon at 3,040, Salem at 2,163 and Cape May at 1,970.
Another 1,019 cases are still under investigation to determine where the person resides.
In regards to cases related to in-school transmissions, a total of 88 outbreaks involving 388 cases have been reported in 19 of the 21 counties in the Garden State, with 15 new outbreaks involving 103 cases recorded in the last week. For North Jersey, Bergen County has 15 confirmed outbreaks with 79 cases, Passaic County has four confirmed outbreaks with 23 cases, Warren County has four confirmed outbreaks with nine cases, Sussex County has three confirmed outbreaks with seven cases and Hudson County has two confirmed outbreaks with 10 cases.
Long-term Care Facilities
Health officials noted 391 long-term care facilities are currently reporting at least one case of COVID-19, accounting for a total of 8,229 of the cases, broken down between 3,859 residents and 4,370 staff.
Cumulatively, 1,090 long-term care facilities reported a case infecting 27,904 residents and 17,068 staff, for a total of 44,972 cases.
The state’s official death total will now be reported as those that are lab confirmed, sits at 7,373 on Dec. 11. The facilities are reporting to the state 7,044 residents deaths and 124 staff deaths.