New Jersey residents 65 and older may begin receiving COVID-19 vaccines Thursday, Gov. Phil Murphy said Wednesday.
The governor also said people between the ages of 16 and 64 may get vaccinated if they have a medical condition deemed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to increase the risk of severe illness from the coronavirus.
“Over the last several months, our administration has built the infrastructure and laid the groundwork to support New Jersey’s COVID-19 vaccination demand,” Murphy said during a media briefing. “Based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we are ready to begin ramping up our vaccination efforts exponentially and are confident in our ability to provide every willing New Jersey resident with a vaccine when it is available and they are eligible.”
According to Murphy, the decision was based largely on the “anticipation of increased deliveries of vaccines as the federal government will no longer be holding back doses.”
“We are confident in taking these steps,” he added.
The governor said New Jersey has administered 264,681 doses of vaccine, out of about 400,000 vaccines initially distributed to the state. So far, 220 of more than 600 nursing homes have completed vaccinations, the governor said. More than 1.2 million residents have also preregistered to be vaccinated.
The state is aiming to have nearly 5 million people, or about 70% of the adult population, vaccinated in six months.
Murphy reported 6,922 new cases of the coronavirus, a new single-day record for the state, bringing the statewide total to 543,974. He also reported 95 new deaths for a statewide total of 18,070.
“For New Jersey, it’s almost unfathomable,” the governor said. “That’s almost 25 times the number of residents we lost on 9/11.”
For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.