New Jersey told to expect thousands fewer COVID-19 vaccine doses

The federal government is telling New Jersey to expect thousands fewer COVID-19 vaccines next week and for the rest of the month, though it’s not clear why, the state’s health commissioner said Friday.

Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said Friday during a news conference that New Jersey expected to get about 87,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine for next week but instead will get about 54,000, a reduction of 38%. She added that New Jersey was told it would get 273,000 doses for the month but instead will get just 183,000, down 33%.

Murphy said he expects there will be an explanation during a video meeting with the White House set for Monday.

"I don’t think we’ve gotten a satisfactory reason why," Murphy said. "It’s nothing personal. Apparently, every American state has received an expectation of a smaller allocation."

Indeed several states have reported smaller allocations.

Pfizer, the co-maker of the only vaccine so far approved for emergency use, has said as far as production goes, nothing has changed.

"Pfizer has not had any production issues with our COVID-19 vaccine, and no shipments containing the vaccine are on hold or delayed," spokesperson Eamonn Nolan said in an email. "We are continuing to dispatch our orders to the locations specified by the U.S. government."

The vaccine was first administered this week in New Jersey on Tuesday. A second vaccine, made by Moderna, could get approval soon.

So far there have been 2,149 health care workers vaccinated in New Jersey, Persichilli said.

Murphy also announced that in January six "mega-centers" for vaccinations will open. They will be located in Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Gloucester, Middlesex and Morris counties.

The first group of people getting shots — health care workers and residents at long-term care facilities — should be completed by February, Persichilli said. New Jersey is aiming to vaccinate 70% of the state’s adult population, or nearly 5 million people, within six months, she added.


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