It's only a matter of weeks before several New Jersey hospitals receive an early shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine, state officials said.
As part of Operation Warp Speed, the nearly half-dozen area hospitals will get the frozen shipments of the vaccine to keep in Arctic-level sub-zero freezers -- even before it's approved by the FDA.
While no dates were given, New Jersey was "weeks away from the first doses of a vaccine being ready for distribution to our health care workers... and months away from a vaccine being readily available for public distribution," Gov. Phil Murphy said.
The following hospitals will be getting the early shipment, according to NorthJersey.com:
- AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center in Atlantic City
- Cooper University Hospital in Camden
- Hackensack University Medical Center
- Morristown Medical Center
- Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick
New Jersey's health department this week is finalizing the vaccine distribution plan. The early shipments will not be used by the hospitals until an Emergency Use Authorization is issued by the FDA.
Starting with healthcare workers, the state's goal is to inoculate 4.7 million people, or 70 percent of the population, in six months time, Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said in an interview with CBS.
The state was expected to receive 100,000 doses of the vaccine, which will be separated into two doses for 50,000 individuals, Persichilli said. That's enough to cover 10 percent of the 500,000 high-priority workers, Persichilli said.
Persichilli expressed more concern over how many health care workers would get the vaccine.
A survey of 2,000 workers found more than 60 percent of doctors would get it, and 40 percent of nurses would, too, Persichilli said.
Both Pfizer and Moderna's clinical trials of the vaccine have returned an efficacy rate of approximately 95 percent.
The FDA expects to consider an authorization application from Pfizer on Dec. 10, and will consider an application from Moderna the following week, reports say.
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