NJ COVID Omicron update: Gov. Murphy renews push to get booster shots in arms

PATERSON, New Jersey (WABC) -- There's a renewed push in New Jersey to get COVID booster shots in more arms with just over half of eligible residents getting the third vaccine so far.

In Paterson Wednesday night, Kennedy Stimage rolled up his sleeve and got his COVID-19 booster shot.

As the doctor put on the band-aid, Stimage flexed his muscle for show, but he wasn't kidding around.

"I got four girls, so I'm just trying to do the best I can to stay alive," Stimage said.

The problem in New Jersey is that many who have gotten the first two doses of the vaccine, haven't gotten the important booster.

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Candace McCowan reports from the Upper West Side on outdoor dining and masks in schools.

"It's called a working schedule ...when you work two full-time jobs it's sort of difficult to fit it in, and I didn't make it a priority because I had the first shot," one resident said

"There is definitely a level of complacency ... and so we really want to encourage people, you really need that extra layer of COVID-19 protection and that's what the booster offers," said Kenese Robinson of the New Jersey Department of Health.

Governor Phil Murphy has noticed the slow booster rate in New Jersey.

"We are declaring Boost NJ 2 Week for next Wednesday, February 23 through March 1, for the roughly 49% of you who are eligible for your booster but have yet to receive it, your booster is on reserve for you," Murphy said.

But the governor may have work to do.

Wednesday night, the site in Paterson was set up to offer the booster, but not many showed up. This coming from a place that was once so enthusiastic for the vaccine.

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Anthony Johnson reports that Governor Phil Murphy announced Monday that he is lifting New Jersey's school mask mandate starting March 7.

"People have individual reasons right, they might not think it's necessary, they may think they have done their duty, they may not understand why they have to have it. We want to make sure they are as protected as possible and that really involves getting that up-to-date vaccination which includes a booster for most people," said Dr. Dara Kass of the New Jersey Department of Health.

The problem now is convincing people to come and get it.

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