Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) held a press conference yesterday to discuss the progress of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine efforts in New Jersey and how they are being affected by the current presidential transition process.
An additional 3,592 cases and 11 deaths were reported in New Jersey yesterday, bringing the statewide total to 309,588 cases and 14,960 deaths. Another 1,812 deaths are potentially linked to COVID-19.
As of yesterday, a total of 2,693 patients were hospitalized for COVID-19, with 537 patients in critical or intensive care and 240 patients on ventilators.
“We are now back at a place we haven’t seen in many months, and unlike some across the country that seem content to just let the virus have its way, that’s not what we are about in New Jersey,” Phil Murphy said.
He signed an executive order extending the public health emergency in New Jersey for another 30 days. This is the ninth time Phil Murphy has extended the emergency, which enables him to counter the spread of COVID-19 through executive actions, according to an article from NJ Advance Media.
Phil Murphy said he and Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli wrote a letter to Emily Murphy, administrator of the General Services Administration (GSA), urging her to begin the presidential transition process.
Later that evening she announced the GSA would begin the transition process after a two-week delay, giving President-elect Joe Biden approximately $6 million to prepare to take office, according to USA Today.
“This is a long overdue step to tackle the public health and economic challenges facing our nation,” Phil Murphy said, according to a tweet posted after the decision was announced.
While New Jersey’s vaccine plan has been filed and continues to be reviewed, he said at the press conference, delays in the presidential transition process can put the state’s vaccine preparations at greater risk.
“This will be an enormous logistical undertaking, and any break or disruption in the supply chain will be paid for in lives … and unless the transition is allowed to get going immediately, those breaks and disruptions and lost lives will be unforced errors by the current administration,” he said.
Phil Murphy announced that if Pfizer receives an emergency use authorization in a timely fashion, New Jersey should expect to receive its first 130,000 doses of the vaccine as early as the third week of December, with another 130,000 doses the week after.
Additionally, he said that if Moderna were to also receive its authorization, there could be 100,000 doses of its vaccine by the end of the year.
“We are ready to move forward the moment these vaccines get to us, with healthcare workers being at the front of the line to receive a vaccination,” Phil Murphy said.