New Jersey is told to expect thousands fewer COVID-19 vaccines

New Jersey’s health commissioner says that the federal government is telling New Jersey to expect thousands of fewer COVID-19 vaccines next week and for the rest of the month.
Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said Friday during a news conference that New Jersey expected to get about 87,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine for next week but instead will get about 54,000, a reduction of 38%. She added that New Jersey was told it would get 273,000 doses for the month but instead will get just 183,000, down 33%.
It was unclear why the vaccines would be limited. Gov. Phil Murphy said there was a video meeting with the White House set for Monday when he expects there would be an explanation.
Murphy also announced on Friday that New Jersey is on track to open six vaccine “mega sites” in early January. He said the sites will continue to vaccinate front-line health care workers before servicing people in two other categories, which will include essential workers and then adults over 65 with high-risk medical conditions. Eventually, the vaccines will be given to the public.
Persichilli said that the goal is to vaccinate 70% of New Jersey’s adult population within six months.
New Jersey recorded 3,975 new positive COVID-19 cases on Friday along with 44 additional deaths. The statewide death toll now stands at 16,216 people.
“That many deaths would be like erasing the entire population of Rutherford Borough, or Madison, or Hopewell Township, or Cinnaminson, or Hammonton, or the entirety of any of 417 other communities in our state,” Murphy said.
But data also shows that New Jersey’s COVID-19 hospitalizations are down for a second day. There are 3,592 COVID-19 patients in the hospital, down 55 from Thursday. There are 715 patients in the ICU and 480 on ventilators.
The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.