‘Today is the first step in a long journey.' New Jersey administers state's 1st COVID-19 vaccine to Newark nurse
Gov. Phil Murphy and Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli were on hand Tuesday morning at University Hospital in Newark, as an emergency room nurse became the first in New Jersey to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Maritza Beniquez said it was her birthday as the vaccination was administered, and then after her, more of the hospital's front-line workers.
Gov. Murphy called the development “the first drops in a really big bucket”, but also called it “a day worth celebrating.”
New Jersey is expected to get three shipments of the Pfizer vaccine this month, beginning with about 76,000 doses this week and another 86,000 next week. The Pfizer vaccine requires ultra-cold storage and will be administered only at hospitals for now.
"It has been reviewed by independent experts for both safety and efficacy,” Persichilli said. "Additionally, our own New Jersey professional advisory committee has diligently reviewed all of the data related to the vaccine trial. Vaccination is an important step to prevent this illness and the potential complications of this illness. Today is the first step in a long journey. We cannot let our guard down."
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will consider Moderna’s vaccine for approval later this week and, if approved, New Jersey will also be receiving doses of that vaccine. Murphy cautioned that several difficult months lie ahead as the state continues to struggle to control the virus.
The majority of people won't be vaccinated for a while. Dr. Anthony Fauci says it could be March or April before Americans without underlying conditions could be able to receive the vaccine.
The spokespeople for Gov. Murphy and Health Commissioner Persichilli say they will not be vaccinated today.
AP services helped contribute to this report.
Rutgers, Princeton requiring all students, staff to get boosted before return to campus at the end of the month