Gov. Phil Murphy: Pfizer, Moderna Point Finger at Feds for Lack of COVID-19 Vaccine

State officials are hoping the Biden Administration will be able to unlock the supply chain issues impacting the number of COVID-19 vaccines to be distributed in New Jersey.

“With the incoming Biden administration taking office…and a new federal focus on pushing vaccines out at a greater pace, we are hopeful that we’ll be able to start ramping up our in-state capabilities to meet what we know is a tremendous demand,” said Gov. Phil Murphy at a press briefing Jan. 19, acknowledging residents are frustrated as getting an appointment has proven to be a challenge.

The state is has receiving approximately 100,000 doses a week from the federal government on a weekly basis. Murphy said the state ended December 2020 with 18% less than expected and a 1.5% decline for the first two weeks of January.

Pfizer, Moderna View 

For the first two weeks in January, New Jersey received about 53,000 doses each of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. The next shipment the state will receive will rise to 55,575 Pfizer doses and 56,100 Moderna doses. 

The supply issues are a mystery to state officials who believe a change over in leadership in Washington brings with it a promise of a more robust delivery of COVID-19 vaccines.

“If you listen to the companies, Pfizer and Moderna will describe a different reality than the one that we’ve gotten from the (Trump officials),” said Murphy. “My hope is, I don’t think it’ll be tomorrow, unfortunately but our collective hope is that it gets to a different and better place very quickly.”

“More Flawed”

In his first full day in office Jan. 21, President Joe Biden focused on his National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness. The President, who has promised to get 100 million COVID-19 shots into the arms of the American people by his 100th day in office, plans to invoke the Defense Production Act to increase needed supplies.

Biden officials said they have been hampered due to a lack of cooperation from the Trump administration and did not have the visibility that we would hope to have into supply and allocations. 

What White House officials found, according to numerous published reports, is the Trump administration built its vaccine distribution program more flawed than previously understood. The system doesn’t allow for the quick movement of vaccines off the manufacturing line to state vaccine distribution points as problems were found with accounting for way vaccines are allocated and scheduled for delivery.

Second Dose Supply

New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said the state is working to provide stable allocations to their points of dispensing whenever possible, given the changes in the federal allocations.

Persichilli recommended vaccination sites should be scheduling the second dose appointment when residents receive their initial dose.

“The federal government says they feel confident that they can provide the supply of our residents’ second doses,” said the commissioner. “It is recommended individuals return to the same site where they received their first dose. Individuals must receive the same type of vaccine for both doses.”

Walgreens Frustration

State officials expressed frustration with CVS and Walgreens, the pharmacy partners in the federal vaccination program for highest-risk populations i in nursing homes and developmental centers among other long-term and congregate living facilities. 

“They’re working through their appointments, but I have to say they need to punch at a higher weight, especially Walgreens,” said Murphy. “So when they’re not performing…that is impacting the sense of our overall posture and we’re not getting to people fast enough.”

The governor added, “there’s no question the federal program is meaningfully lagging what we have control over in the state. There’s no question about that.“

Daily Data

On Jan. 21,  the cumulative number of confirmed coronavirus cases in New Jersey reached 580,688 with 4,095 total new PCR cases reported. There were 1,184 probable cases, bringing the cumulative total of antigen tests to 65,501. The total number of individual cases for the state is 646,189. Gov. Murphy noted there is some unknown overlap due to health officials urging those taking a rapid test to get a PCR test.

As for those that have passed, the state reported 98 new deaths, bringing that total to 18,639. The state listed probable deaths at 2,121, bringing the overall total to 20,760. State officials noted 50 deaths occurred in the last 24 hours of reporting that have not yet been lab confirmed.  

For North Jersey counties, Bergen had a total of 459 new confirmed cases and 106 probable cases, Essex 329 new cases and 40 probable cases, Hudson 352 new cases and 47 probable cases, Morris 222 new cases and and 46 probable cases, Passaic 320 new cases and 48 probable cases, Sussex 68 new cases and 24 probable cases, and Warren 38 cases and six probable cases.

Of the total confirmed deaths in North Jersey, Essex County has the most with 2,237, followed by Bergen at 2,159, Hudson with 1,644, Passaic at 1,398, Morris at 831, Sussex at 194 and Warren County at 176.

In regards to probable deaths, Bergen has 268, Essex has 260, Morris at 202, Hudson has 172, Passaic at 160, Sussex has 53 and Warren has 15.

State Testing 

The daily rate of infections from those tested as of Jan. 16, was 12.6%; by region, the rate was 12.9% in the North, 12.1% in the Central region and 12.7% in the South. 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 decreased to 1.07 from 1.08 the day before. 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 3,395 patients were hospitalized; by region, there were 1,397 in the North, 1,147 in the Central and 851 in the South.

Of those hospitalized, 626 are in intensive care units and 427 on ventilators. A total of 444 patients were discharged.

Bergen Tops County Count

Bergen has the most confirmed cumulative cases in the state with 56,223, followed by Essex at 55,898, Middlesex at 55,293, Hudson at 52,976, Passaic at 44,986, Union at 42,428, Ocean at 41,034, Monmouth at 40,995, Camden at 34,360, Burlington at 26,274, Morris at 25,260, Mercer at 22,251, Gloucester at 17,814, Atlantic at 15,771, Somerset at 15,279, Cumberland at 9,838, Sussex at 6,260, Warren at 5,016, Hunterdon at 4,924, Salem at 3,641, and Cape May at 2,968.  

In regards to probable cases, Bergen had the most at 6,328, followed by Union at 6,087, Ocean at 4,779, Essex at 4,628, Hudson at 4,244, Atlantic at 3,936, Morris at 3,925, Monmouth at 3,882, Middlesex at 3,801, Passaic at 3,705, Camden at 3,395, Somerset at 3,286, Burlington at 3,003, Cape May at 2,763, Gloucester at 2,392, Cumberland at 1,866, Mercer at 1,158, Sussex at 839, Warren at 552, Hunterdon at 497, and Salem 383.

Another 1,199 cases are still under investigation to determine where the person resides.

In regards to cases related to in-school transmissions, a total of 121 outbreaks involving 597 cases, with 10 new outbreaks accounting for 23 cases reported in the weekly update, have been reported in all 21 counties in the Garden State. 

For North Jersey, Bergen County has 26 confirmed outbreaks with 115 cases, Passaic County has five confirmed outbreaks with 25 cases, Sussex has five confirmed outbreaks with 13 cases, Warren has five confirmed outbreaks with 11 cases, Hudson County has two confirmed outbreaks with 10 cases, Essex County with one confirmed outbreak with 91 cases and Morris County has one confirmed outbreaks with five cases.

Long-term Care Facilities

Health officials noted 427 long-term care facilities are currently reporting at least one case of COVID-19, accounting for a total of 14,669 of the cases, broken down between 6,994 residents and 7,675 staff. 

Cumulatively, 1,204 long-term care facilities reported a case infecting 31,670 residents and 20,904 staff, for a total of 52,574 cases. 

The state’s official death total will now be reported as those that are lab confirmed, sits at 7,687 on Jan. 21. The facilities are reporting to the state 7,627 residents deaths and 140 staff deaths.

Vaccine Distribution

The number of COVID-19 vaccines administered in New Jersey totaled 455,965 as of Jan. 21. Of those who have received the vaccine, 398,862 residents have received their first dose with 56,821 their second; 54% have been administered the Moderna vaccine and 46% the Pfizer. 

Demographically, 62% of those vaccinated are women and 38% men. As for ethnicity, 46% are White, 20% unknown, 19% other, 6% Asian, 5% Hispanic and 3% Black. In regards to age of those having received the vaccine, 26% are 65 years old or olders, 31% are between the ages of 50-64, 32% are between the ages of 40-49, and 11% are between the ages of 18-29.  

In North Jersey, Bergen County has delivered 50,542 doses, Essex 36,283 doses, Hudson 19,664 doses, Morris 32,272 doses, Passaic 20,395 doses, Sussex 7,322 doses, and Warren 4,619 doses. 


  1. I do not accept being ignored in our attempt to get vaccinated since my husband and I are in our 80’s and
    both have complicated diseases (severe heart, COPD and diabetes). We properly registered weeks ago
    and have never heard ANYTHING from any distribution site. With smokers being given priority over teachers,
    and healthy 65 year olds being taken care of before the 80 yr olds, something is really out of whack.
    Question is???? exactly WHO is determining who deserves to be vaccinated? I live in Monmouth County
    (YOUR county,Governor) but at least I am grateful to have access to another county’s information.
    Thank you.

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