Coronavirus Vaccine Update: Here's New Jersey's distribution plan

COVID-19 News and Information
NEW JERSEY (WABC) -- Governor Phil Murphy unveiled New Jersey's coronavirus vaccination plan on Monday.

He said that last month, on October 16th, the New Jersey Department of Health submitted a first draft of the state's COVID-19 vaccination plan to the CDC.

The state's plan is the product of months of work with collaboration between the Department of Health, the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management, representatives from state and local health departments, and other state agencies.

Coming up with this plan took months and in fact, started back in March at the beginning of the pandemic. Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli convened the NJ Department of Health COVID-19 Professional Advisory Committee.

In April, the department began planning for the distribution of potential vaccines that were in the early phases of development.

In July, the Vaccine Task Force, comprised of a panel of state experts, began its broader work to focus on the hurdles and challenges that would await any viable vaccine.

Governor Murphy said that the initial vaccination plan is not final and they are continuing to refine and recalculate it.

Vaccine rollout efforts will be supported and coordinated at the state level but delivered through several local partners. They include local health departments, federally qualified health centers, hospitals, and medical-clinical and retail pharmacies.

"We will ensure a data-driven vaccination rollout process that prioritizes those at highest at risk of infection, vulnerable communities, and people who would have the greatest benefit from being vaccinated early.

The governor noted that any vaccine rollout will likely have a limited initial supply. He says they will work quickly to, "move across population segments and deliver vaccines into the communities that were hardest hit by COVID-19, not just those that are easiest to reach."

The state has a goal of 70% vaccination and to achieve that goal, Governor Murphy said that they need to work to build the public's trust in it.

"Skepticism of a vaccine could prove to be as deadly as COVID-19 itself. Online rumors and social-media-driven conspiracy theories will not jeopardize our ability to build statewide immunity against this virus. We're committed to building trust in the vaccine in our communities," Murphy said. "Our health experts will be closely reviewing the science and will make the call as to when a vaccine, and which one or ones, will be acceptable for New Jersey."

In order to achieve the state's goal, Murphy said that federal funding for a vaccination program will be essential.

He cautioned that "The federal administration has so far indicated no interest in providing further financial assistance. If we do not receive any additional funds, achieving a 70% vaccination rate will take many years, if it happens at all."

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