TRENTON, NJ (TBEN) – New Jersey is expanding COVID vaccination to include people over 65 and those with chronic illnesses. It will start on Thursday.
Delaware aims to do the same soon, while Pennsylvania is still examining options.
Operation Warp Speed yesterday announced new guidelines to vaccinate more people with the release of more supplies.
New Jersey said on Wednesday it was moving forward to significantly expand its vaccinations.
“We are now ready to start scaling up our immunization efforts exponentially,” Murphy said.
READ MORE: TBEN Philly Vaccine Guide – When Can I Get COVID-19 Vaccine in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, or Delaware?
The vaccine expansion in New Jersey will cover an additional 4.5 million people, including anyone over 65 and people 16 and older with health conditions such as diabetes, cancer, obesity and smokers.
“We know that people in these categories are at greater risk of serious illness and death from COVID-19,” said Judy Persichilli, New Jersey health commissioner.
New Jersey has already established mass vaccination sites, as well as a registration portal for the appointments needed to get vaccinated.
“Our goal is to get the shots, period, to do it the right way, the fairest way. We want to do this in an orderly fashion, so no lines around the block and camping like you’ve seen in Florida, ”Murphy said.
But there is a lot of uncertainty around vaccines. Camden County has yet to receive its vaccines from the state, and it all stems from the federal government’s rollout plan.
“We are told that by Monday we will have 6,000 vaccines and we hope to receive that amount every week,” said Camden County Commissioner Lou Cappelli Jr.
As New Jersey prepares to move into Phase 1B of its vaccine rollout, even more people are eligible for vaccination, and the process in Camden County is relatively quick, according to a county commissioner.
“At this point, if you sign up online, you should be able to get a vaccination next week,” Cappelli said.
“It’s based somehow, if not a great deal, on the anticipation – not the guarantee, but the anticipation – of increased vaccine deliveries, because the federal government will no longer withhold doses. We are confident that we will take these steps, ”said Murphy.
But it’s more of the same concerns in South Jersey. There is uncertainty as to the number of doses that will be available to residents.
“There is no guarantee. Our first package of 6000 vaccines was promised to us two weeks ago, we have not yet received them. So everything we do is contingent on us getting a certain number of vaccines every week to keep this schedule going, ”Cappelli said.
Local authorities are reminding people, even if you are vaccinated, not to let their guard down.
If you are pregnant or have a weakened immune system, you are also eligible for the vaccine, but it is recommended that you consult your doctor first.
Meanwhile, Delaware also plans to include the 65-and-over group and those with health problems when it moves to the next phase in a few weeks.
But, there is still no plan of Pennsylvania.
“We are all rolling out the vaccine as quickly as possible. It will take time to keep doing that, ”Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said Monday.
Today, the Pennsylvania Department of Health said it hopes to have more information about expanding immunizations soon.
“I have real concerns about this,” said Dr Thomas Farley, Philadelphia Health Commissioner.
The Philadelphia Department of Health is reviewing the new federal guidelines, calling them “a total change out of the blue after months of planning.”
But Dr Farley believes that offering the vaccine to anyone over 65 creates an unfair situation.
“If you do that, the people who tend to get vaccinated are the ones with the most resources, the ones who can work with the system or have a lot of free time. This is not how you save the most lives, ”said Dr Farley.
Although the federal government has said it will release more vaccines, it’s unclear exactly how much that’s or where it’s going. So there are still many unknowns, the biggest of all being that there will be enough vaccine for the second doses needed. The hypothesis is yes because manufacturing is increasing.
CBS3’s Stephanie Stahl and Kimberly Davis contributed to this report.
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