By: Michael Mandarino, Follow South Jersey Managing Editor
TRENTON, N.J. — New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced during his regularly-scheduled COVID-19 briefing on Monday that all New Jersey residents aged 16 and older will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine beginning April 19.
The state’s expansion of eligibility for COVID-19 vaccinations has lagged behind others in the United States — some of which have already opened up vaccinations to all residents older than the age of 16. This decision, however, lines up with President Joe Biden’s desire for all American adults to be eligible for the vaccine by May 1.
“We are going to make our most aggressive push yet to meet our vaccination goals,” Gov. Murphy said during his COVID-19 briefing. “That’s about 12 days ahead of our initial target that had been May 1. Given the trajectory we are on, we believe this is the right time to put our program into higher gear.”
As of Monday morning, New Jersey had administered a total of 4,701,725 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the state’s COVID-19 dashboard. Of those, 1,796,798 residents are fully inoculated against the pandemic after receiving their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna models or the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. New Jersey has administered at least 500,000 vaccine doses per week for the last five weeks, and the state nearly reached 700,000 doses administered last week. Nearly 325,000 people became fully vaccinated in the state last week.
The decision to expand vaccination eligibility to all New Jersey residents aged 16 and older is, as Gov. Murphy noted, one last push for the state to reach its goal of 4.7 million fully vaccinated adults by the end of May. Right now, the state has vaccinated approximately 38% of its adult population.
If the state continues to administer 325,000 second doses (or single-shot Johnson & Johnson doses) per week through the end of May, approximately 4.4 million New Jerseyans will be fully vaccinated by that time — just short of the state’s goal of 4.7 million. Last week, New Jersey launched its COVID-19 vaccine appointment finder beta to facilitate the process of making an appointment for residents.
In addition to announcing an expansion of COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to all New Jersey adults, Gov. Murphy also announced that fully vaccinated New Jerseyans do not need to self-isolate for two weeks or get tested for COVID-19 before and after traveling out-of-state.
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