Gov. Phil Murphy and First Lady Tammy Murphy are getting their second COVID-19 shots this Friday in Atlantic City at the area’s vaccination mega-site, the governor said during an April 28 daily COVID-19 press conference.
The Murphys got the first does of the Pfizer vaccine at the Atlantic City site at the convention center on April 9. Pfizer requires a second dose roughly 21 days afterward.
Murphy, aged 63, was one of the last remaining state governors to get the COVID-19 vaccine, saying that he would wait until his age group was eligible to get a shot. Eligibility expanded on April 5 to anyone over the age of 55, and then opened on April 19 to anyone over the age of 16.
Roughly 4.8 million adults have gotten at least one shot – 60% of New Jersey adults – but most of them from the two-shot Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. Full immunity is not built until two weeks after the second shot.
The goal is to fully vaccinate 4.7 million adults by the end of June 30, and the state is nearing 3 million total shots.
All told, just a quarter of a million Johnson & Johnson shots are in the mix of those 6.8 million total doses administered. J&J vaccines were a more attractive option for delivering shots to hard-to-reach and vulnerable populations, such as the homeless, elderly, and lower-income, urban residents, as they are effective after a single dose and require storage in refrigeration-level temperatures. That’s unlike the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which require two doses spaced roughly a month apart, and storage in Arctic-level temperatures.
Demand for J&J shots has nosedived following a nearly two-week federal pause on their use, following several rare reports of blood clots in recipients.
And demand for the vaccines overall has slowed down in recent weeks, something Murphy said was expected, but which nonetheless jeopardizes the statewide inoculation goals.
On Monday, Murphy suggested that fewer people are willing to get the vaccine because of such mindsets as “the weather’s getting warmer, the numbers are going in the right direction, I feel good, I haven’t gotten sick yet.”
“Those are not [good] reasons,” he said. “We need folks to get vaccinated.”
State health officials contend that the 4.7 million threshold is key to building widespread herd immunity that could curtail the spread of the COVID-19 virus, and in turn, lead to lifting COVID-19 business restrictions en masse.
A host of public outreach efforts are being employed by state officials, including a “Your Voice, Your Shot” contest, where social media users post a video on why they got the COVID-19 vaccine.
And declining COVID-19 numbers – lower cases and hospitalizations, and a slower spread of the virus – are another vital measure.
The rate of transmission – or how fast the virus spreads – was 0.80 as of April 28, down from 0.88 the day before. The state logged less than 2,000 cases on April 28, for several days in a row. And there were 1,788 COVID-19 hospitalizations, the lowest patient count in five months.