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NJ officials cite long-term facilities’ lack of IT capability for COVID-19 vaccine delay

Gov. Phil Murphy and Commissioner of Health Judith Persichilli explained Monday why there is a one-week delay in getting coronavirus vaccines to long-term care centers.

News 12 Staff

Dec 21, 2020, 10:21 PM

Updated 1,279 days ago

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Gov. Phil Murphy and Commissioner of Health Judith Persichilli explained Monday why there is a one-week delay in getting coronavirus vaccines to long-term care centers.
Vaccinations for nursing home residents were supposed to start Monday.
The Department of Health missed a federal deadline – by one day – to send the federal government information from more than 600 long-term care facilities and nursing homes. This means that now vaccinations of residents will not start until Dec. 28, rather than Dec. 21.
“This is not an easy, straight-line, process. It is one of the most ambitious federal government initiatives ever undertaken,” Murphy said.
“To further complicate the process, the CDC has strict rules regarding when the long-term care program can be started,” Persichilli said. “The information about anticipated doses and shipments of both Pfizer and Moderna keeps changing,” she added.
And that meant the state didn’t know when the 50% of vaccine doses required to begin immunizations would arrive. According to Persichilli, the health department stepped in when it found that some nursing homes were not able to send in data on their own.
“After receiving the approval of the CDC, the department undertook the task of uploading their information from all the facilities that did not have IT capability,” Persichilli said.
GOP gubernatorial hopeful Doug Steinhardt called for Commissioner Persichilli’s resignation. Murphy said Steinhardt doesn't know what he's talking about.
“I think you heard how we’re thinking about vaccines and the last thing we need are people who don’t know what they’re talking about from the cheap seats,” Murphy said. “I think anybody who thinks this is a straight-line easy task that they’re aren’t going to be bumps, twists or turns in the road is not paying attention.”
Persichilli said the health department asked the CDC for an extension on Dec. 11, but was denied.


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