New Jersey ready for COVID-19 vaccine roll out after FDA approval

Hours before the Food And Drug Administration gave its stamp of approval on the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for emergency use, New Jersey was preparing for the highly anticipated and potentially life-saving vaccine.

Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said Friday afternoon that New Jersey could begin vaccinating people shortly after the FDA greenlights the vaccine. According to Persichilli, the turnaround time once final approval is given is just 24 hours.

Health care workers and residents at long-term care facilities are expected to be the first groups to get the vaccine.

Six hospitals across the state will have the vaccine “pre-positioned” so they can begin administering soon after approval is granted, she said.

She didn’t specify which hospitals they were, but the state’s approach to tracking hospitalizations from the vaccine has centered on northern, central and southern regions, suggesting the hospitals would be located around the state.

MORE: As neighboring states tighten COVID-19 orders, NJ stands pat

New Jersey, like the rest of the country, has seen a resurgence of the virus, with daily caseloads climbing above their highest points in the spring. The rolling weekly average has also ticked up steadily.

On Friday, Murphy reported an additional 55 deaths, putting the total at 15,794.

He also announced that 10 bars and restaurants were having their liquor licenses suspended because they failed to follow coronavirus guidelines.

“Let these charges send a perfectly clear signal to any bar or restaurant owner who thinks this won’t happen to you,” he said, adding that most proprietors were following the guidelines.

Bars and restaurants are limited to 25% capacity indoors and must close from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. under executive orders Murphy has signed.


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