TRENTON — Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday that the state was about to cross the 75 percent goal for persons fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with a total of 5,889,424 having received either both shots of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or the single shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

More than 83 percent of New Jersey residents have received their first shot, the governor said, during this Monday COVID-19 news briefing, the livestream of which can be viewed above.

Among 12 to 17-year olds, however, the rate is only 60.4 percent, according to Health Commissioner Judith Perschilli, who cited the importance of vaccination among that group, “to help protect their health and the health of those around them.”

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“When we look at the number for ages 12 to 15, that percentage is 55.9 percent,” she added. “So we are concerned about the low rate because these age groups are most likely to have contact with those under 12, who are vulnerable and not eligible to be vaccinated.”

Again underlining the level of protection offered by the vaccines, Gov. Murphy reported that as of Sept. 20, just over one half of one percent of those fully vaccinated had tested positive for COVID-19. Of group, representing 30,267 of the 5.5 million fully vaccinated at point, only 629 persons required hospitalization and 158 died.

Ms. Persichilli noted that more than 1.1 million New Jersey residents who received two shots of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine through March are now eligible to receive a booster dose.

LATEST CASE NUMBERS 

For the period Sept. 13 though Sept.19, There were 3,414 positive results among the 13,762 COVID tests administered throughout the state. During the same period, COVID-related  hospitalizations accounted for 42 out of 1,000 total hospitalizations for all causes and there were two COVID-related deaths.

Statewide, the COVID-10 positivity rate stands at 4.01 percent and the rate of transmission has dropped below one percent, to .91. “That remains a very good sign,” the governor said.

“The very low incidence of hospitalizations and deaths among the fully vaccinated really tell the story of the vaccines,” Gov. Murphy said. “We are now at a very distinct minority of residences who aren’t vaccinated, and we acknowledge that for a good number of them there is nothing we can do that will ever break through the misinformation they are clinging to.

“But for those we know who just still be on the fence for whatever reason, look at these numbers and remember that the vaccines are free, and a free vaccine is far, far better than an expensive hospital stay or, please God no … the cost to your family for a funeral.”

The number of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 stands at 1,074, 243 of whom are in Intensive Care Units and 135 on ventilators. There were 13 in-hospital deaths, 99 new admissions and 77 discharges.

Overall, the state has now recorded 24,691 COVID-related deaths, a number that includes the most recent 2,707 probable COVID deaths and nine confirmed COVID deaths. 

HOSPITALIZATIONS AND PREGNANCIES 

Health Commissioner Persichilli noted Monday that, according to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control [CDC], pregnant women with symptomatic COVID-19 re twice as likely to be admitted to intensive care or be put on a ventilator and face a 70 percent greater risk of death.

Those cases also represent “increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes that could include pre-term birth, stillbirth and admission into the ICU of a newborn also infected with COVID-19.”

Despite the increase risks and continued recommendations for vaccination, Ms. Persichilli said that CDC-reported vaccination rates for pregnant women are only 31 percent nationwide.