COVID-19 vaccine supply will ‘explode’ around Easter as NJ hits anniversary of first case, Murphy says


TRENTON, N.J. — New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy says the supply of COVID-19 vaccines will “explode” around Easter.

Murphy spoke Wednesday during a news conference on the virus, one day shy of the year anniversary since the state reported its first positive case.

New Jersey, along with New York, was an early epicenter for the virus, which so far has resulted in 21,052 deaths, and still New Jersey has among the highest number of deaths per 100,000 residents in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Despite the grim toll, the governor sounded an optimistic tone about the addition of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which joins Pfizer and Moderna.

It’s more supply to address expanded access in New Jersey, specifically more eligible health conditions, and additional eligible professions.

“When I’m up to bat, I will take it,” added Murphy. “We have three potent vaccines here. There’s just no other way around this.”

It was no coincidence to hear those reassuring statements about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine – which yielded an estimated 66% efficacy rate globally; 72% in the US.

That’s a far cry from efficacy rates in the mid 90s for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

But epidemiologist and Montclair State University Professor of Public Health, Dr. Stephanie Silvera says Johnson & Johnson’s stats require context.

“It’s the one vaccine that’s going to be on the market that has actually been tested among these newer variants [of COVID]. When Pfizer and Moderna were tested, those variants weren’t in the mix and so we actually have data on Moderna and Pfizer specifically for these newer variants,” said Dr. Silvera.

In New York, a similar strategy. Mayor Bill de Blasio, also offered reassurance, as vaccine mega-sites at Yankee Stadium and the Javits Center offer expanded hours to address more demand.

“I’m very confident in the Johnson & Johnson vaccine,” said the mayor. “I will be getting it myself in a very public way.”

In Yonkers, FEMA opened a new mega-site capable of administering about 1,000 vaccinations a day.

To be clear, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says stubbornly high infection rates in our area means the ever-evolving virus is still hard at work.

“Don’t think that there isn’t an ever-present danger and these variants are not just here, the variants are created all the time,” he said.

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