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Murphy expands coronavirus vaccine eligibility to all individuals 16 years or older

Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) said the expansion of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine eligibility has come approximately 12 days earlier than the expected date of May 1. – Photo by Gov. Phil Murphy / Flickr

All New Jerseyans age 16 and older will be eligible for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine starting April 19, said Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) today at a press conference.

This date is approximately 12 days earlier than the state’s initial target date of May 1 for this eligibility expansion, he said.

“Given the trajectory we are on, we believe this is the right time to put our program into higher gear,” Murphy said.

All New Jerseyans age 55 and older and those with intellectual and developmental disabilities age 16 and older are now eligible for the vaccine, as are essential workers in higher education, libraries, retail financial services, laundromats and dry cleaning, building and home industries, communication infrastructure, information technology, public utility, sanitation and the media, The Daily Targum previously reported.

Murphy also shared the prediction model for the best-case scenario of COVID-19 in New Jersey. It assumes an 85 percent confirmation rate among hospital patients under investigation for COVID-19 infection, a similar rate of new cases after major holiday weekends to that of previous such weekends, a 95 percent efficacy rate for all vaccines against variants and a significant effect of vaccinations in reducing spread.

In this best-case scenario, reported new cases would remain relatively steady for the next few weeks with a high of 4,344 before falling steadily throughout the summer, Murphy said. Hospitalizations and numbers of patients in intensive or critical care and on ventilators would also follow this trend.

Other scenarios, which were reported on Wednesday, included that the moderate scenario would have a high of 5,445 cases, and the high scenario would have a peak of 8,162 cases, Murphy said.

“Now certainly we are not going to prepare ourselves for the best-case scenario — we hope for the best but prepare for the worst,” he said. “And we’re going to continue to keep ourselves on a footing that ensures that if, in fact, the worst does emerge over the coming weeks, that we are fully prepared.”

The New Jersey Department of Health’s COVID-19 guidelines have been updated to reflect the changes to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines regarding domestic travel for fully vaccinated individuals, Murphy said. Such individuals are no longer required to self-quarantine after a domestic trip or get tested before or after travel.

The state also released a new tracker for the number of fully vaccinated adults who are living in New Jersey. As of today, 1,796,798 New Jerseyans have been fully vaccinated, which is approximately 38 percent of the state’s goal of 4.7 million individuals fully vaccinated by the end of June.

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