Weather wreaks havoc on NJ COVID vaccine supply, appointments pushed

Coronavirus Update New Jersey
NEW JERSEY (WABC) -- The bad weather in the deep south and middle of the country has put a stranglehold on vaccine distribution in New Jersey, forcing officials in Bergen and Monmouth counties to push back appointments because the shipments haven't arrived.

Predictions of snow in our area Thursday could means more delays.

Monmouth County Board of Commissioners Director Thomas Arnone said those with appointments at the two county sites are being notified and everyone is being rescheduled.

The site at New Bridge Medical Center is moving appointments to Friday and Saturday, and state officials say all they can do is wait for the supplies to arrive.

"As vaccinations have been underway, there have been some challenges due to the weather," state Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said. "Vaccine shipments have been delayed due the storms moving through the US."

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Mayor de Blasio says the city has less than 30,000 first doses left and might run out of the COVID vaccine Wednesday or Thursday.

Governor Phil Murphy said that despite the temporary setback, the vaccine program will move ahead when the supply arrives.

The governor also indicated that things in the state would be opening quicker if variants weren't making things so challenging. He urged residents not to travel to Brazil and South Africa because those variants spread so quickly.

"But for the variant, I think we would be planning right now a more fulsome series of steps to reopen over the next few weeks," he said. "But the variant sort of hangs over our head. We know it's more easily transmitted. We know the vaccines still work against severe illness and death, but they work less well then they do against the main virus. And the science is incomplete."

He said he's hopeful that increased vaccination will lead to a decrease in cases that will allow for more easing of restrictions.

"I think if we continue to see, especially hospitalizations, continue to drop, there's no question we'll take more steps to open up," he said. "I don't know what they are or when they are, but I think we will be more cautious than we otherwise would have been absent the variants. And I would hope we can take steps sooner, if we continue to see that."

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Officials announced an alarming spike in cases that is forcing all-remote learning and the halting of all after-school activities.

The six mega sites in the state have administered 201,872 doses, reaching a new single day high Tuesday with more than 13,000.

Like others in the region, they are closely watching the incoming weather and anticipating possible distribution delays.

Murphy also extended the state's public-health emergency for another 30 days for a 12th time. It will now extend to at least early March.

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