“New Jersey is set to receive 76,050 doses of the vaccine developed by Pfizer and the German company BioNTech. The priority groups for the initial doses are front-line health care workers and residents of long-term care.”
"Health care workers at University Hospital in Newark on Tuesday morning will be the first recipients in New Jersey of the newly authorized vaccine to prevent COVID-19, Gov. Phil Murphy said Sunday.
"It will be a big day Tuesday morning in Newark," the governor said in an interview on ABC News This Week with Martha Raddatz.
Essex County has suffered the highest number of deaths – 2,295 – of any county in New Jersey from the coronavirus. University Hospital, a teaching hospital for Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, has been at the center of work to treat the severely ill.
"What we saw here at University Hospital for the community we serve ... was one of the worst things we had ever witnessed in health care," Dr. Shereef Elnahal, University Hospital's CEO, has said, of the first wave of the pandemic. "Even though we had faced crisis in the past – 9/11 and Hurricane Sandy – this has been the worst."
Only improved treatments and a younger average age among the COVID patients at his hospital has kept it from being overrun in the second surge, Elnahal said. "We’re honored to deliver the first COVID19 vaccine in NJ to one of our health care heroes," he tweeted Sunday.
The governor said he will witness the shots being given with Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli, Dr. Robert Johnson, dean of the medical school, and Elnahal, who is a former health commissioner.
The medical school at University Hospital is a clinical trial site for the Moderna coronavirus vaccine, whose application for an emergency use authorization from the federal Food and Drug Administration is to be considered this week. The Newark site, one of 89 around the country, recruited more than 50 trial participants -- including Elnahal.
The hospital has set up a COVID Vaccine Clinic at the medical school that will be capable of administering 600 vaccines a day. It has ultra-cold freezers capable of storing 120,000 doses.
New Jersey is set to receive 76,050 doses of the vaccine developed by Pfizer and the German company BioNTech. The priority groups for the initial doses are front-line health care workers and residents of long-term care.
The vaccines, which began shipment Sunday morning, are going to six hospitals in the state. In addition to University Hospital, they are:
- Hackensack University Medical Center
- Morristown Medical Center
- Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick
- AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center in Atlantic City
- and Cooper University Hospital in Camden.
Additional shipments are expected to follow quickly. Once the Moderna vaccins is authorized, it will increase the supply available.
Gov. Murphy said Friday that he expected all of the state's frontline health care workers to receive their first doses of the vaccine over the next three weeks.
Lindy Washburn is a senior health care reporter for NorthJersey.com. To keep up-to-date about how changes in the medical world affect the health of you and your family, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.
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