500,000 New Jersey residents vaccinated; 2 patients have aggressive variant

Coronavirus Update New Jersey
EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (WABC) -- All six of the New Jersey's COVID-19 vaccine mega sites are now open, with residents lining up Friday at two new locations in East Rutherford and Atlantic City, this as the state announced they have successfully vaccinated 500,222 residents in a little more than a month.

Sites at the Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment Complex and Atlantic City Convention Center were both fully booked at the start, but more appointment times are expected to be added based on availability.

Four other sites are already open, at Rockaway Townsquare in Morris County, the New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center in Middlesex County, the Moorestown Mall in Burlington County, and Rowan College of South Jersey in Gloucester County.

Governor Phil Murphy and First Lady Tammy Murphy, as well as other officials including Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli, visited the site at the Moorestown Mall Friday.

The additional sites open amid a shortage in some of the state's larger cities, including Paterson, where earlier this week Mayor Andre Sayegh pleaded with new President Joe Biden to distribute more vaccines. The state also identified two patients with the more aggressive strain first found in the UK.

Sayegh said his health department has done its part in the war against COVID-19 and has thus far vaccinated 4,000 residents from around the state.

Residents have come from all over to be vaccinated in Paterson, prompting the city to change its procedures. Beginning Friday, the main vaccine hub at the International High School now serves Paterson residents.

Earlier this week, Governor Phil Murphy extended the public health emergency in New Jersey for another 30 days.
EMBED More News Videos

Governor Phil Murphy also reported 388,160 vaccinations statewide as of Tuesday morning.

The governor said New Jersey has built the capacity for an aggressive vaccination push.

"We continue to push forward with the approximately 100,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses we're receiving on a weekly basis," Murphy said. "Our pharmacy partners in the federal vaccination program continue to move through the state providing vaccinations to some of our highest-risk populations."

Of the vaccines the state has control over, 50-70% have been put into the arms of residents.

Pharmacy partners, Murphy said, have only distributed a little more than 10%. Governor Murphy says he plans to talk to Walgreens to get their operation running quicker.

"We are working diligently to put out as many doses as we have control over," he said.

ALSO READ | 18 family members get COVID-19 after holiday gathering
EMBED More News Videos

A family's holiday party in Milmont Park, Delaware County, turned out to be its own superspreader event.

national geographic covid newsletter sign up


Tracking COVID-19 availability and progress in NYC
Find out if you are eligible and where you can go to get your vaccine
Do you have coronavirus symptoms?
Where to get tested in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut
WATCH: Eyewitness to a Pandemic
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on coronavirus

Submit a News Tip or Question
Copyright © 2021 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.