COVID-19 vaccinations for police and firefighters to begin

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TRENTON — The state is preparing to move into phase 1B of vaccine recipients, with police officers and firefighters set to receive their first shots starting Thursday.

Judith Perscecilli, the commissioner of the  New Jersey Department of Health, said on Wednesday that while there are still individuals in the 1A category to receive a vaccine, “it is not necessary to  vaccinate all individuals in one phase before initiating the next phase.”

“The movement between phases will be very fluid … one phase will overlap with another,” she said on Wednesday during the governor’s briefing on the virus.

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The NJ vaccine scheduling system [NJVSS] Tuesday evening. When the system went online, it crashed due to a flood of registrations.

So far, more than 450,000 New Jerseyans have pre-registered to receive the vaccine, as the governor put out a call to retired medical professionals who have experience in vaccinations to help administer the vaccine.

“That number alone gives us great optimism as we continue to roll out our robust vaccine program,” the governor said. Those who register in the system will be alerted when it is time for their phase to receive the vaccine.

On Wednesday the state reported an additional 5,028 cases, bringing the statewide total of positive cases since March to 504,647. The statewide rate of transmission, or the estimate of individuals who are infected by the virus from an individual with COVID-19, was reported to be .96. Total hospitalizations throughout the state were reported to be 3,744, with 668 patients in intensive care and 456 on a ventilator.

Since vaccinations began on Dec. 15, 134,985 individuals have been received either the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. Both vaccines require two doses taken roughly three weeks apart. On Monday, the first healthcare workers received their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

This week, the state ordered 108,625 vaccine doses but received more than 106, 825 from the federal government. Next week, the state requested the same amount but expected to receive 107,025. At the end of last year, the state received 18 percent fewer vaccines than what it had received.

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