December 15, 2020
Maritza Beniquez could not have asked for a better present on her 56th birthday.
The emergency room nurse at University Hospital in Newark, New Jersey made history on Tuesday when she became the state’s first resident to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
Gov. Phil Murphy and First Lady Tammy Murphy, as well as Department of Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli, were on hand to witness the initial vaccinations of New Jersey’s frontline health care workers.
Additional essential health care workers also began receiving the first doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday at University Hospital following Beniquez.
WATCH LIVE as the first New Jerseyans receive COVID-19 vaccinations https://t.co/oo3Iq49hBd— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) December 15, 2020
A first-generation Latina, Beniquez has been an emergency room nurse at University Hospital for five years. She said that she was very excited to be New Jersey’s first recipient of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine.
“It has been important to receive this vaccine, not just for me, but for all of those who I love,” Beniquez said. “My family, my friends, my community, my neighbors and my co-workers. That’s the importance of this vaccine.”
For nine months, Maritza Beniquez, an Emergency Department nurse at @UnivHospNewark, has risked her life on the front lines of our fight against #COVID19.— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) December 15, 2020
This morning, she became the first person in New Jersey to get vaccinated.
Thank you, Maritza.#JerseyStrong pic.twitter.com/zVwiHgDgy9
Murphy said that the rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine across New Jersey was “a day worth celebrating” during the ongoing public health crisis.
“This is a day we’ve been waiting almost a year for, and we’re not going to let this moment go to waste,” Murphy said. “It was an incredible thrill to witness these vaccinations.”
“We know that this is not the end, but we know that we are witnessing at least the beginning of the end,” he continued.
WATCH LIVE as we discuss this morning’s historic COVID-19 vaccinations https://t.co/gnHSdEBjih— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) December 15, 2020
Frontline health care workers at Cooper University Hospital in Camden and AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center in Atlantic City were among those to receive the initial 76,000 doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine that were delivered to New Jersey.
Historic Moment: Today at Cooper University Health Care, the first Cooper team member, nurse Rosetta Oliver, has received a #COVID19 vaccine. We are proud to be part of this important event in the fight against COVID-19. ❤️ #cooperstrong pic.twitter.com/JX0BSPNLMp— Cooper University Health Care (@CooperHealthNJ) December 15, 2020
Today we were proud of offer the first round of COVID-19 vaccines to our frontline team members at our Atlantic City campus. In total, we vaccinated 55 people, with more clinics for our healthcare heroes coming up across our campuses. pic.twitter.com/wmZMZreeYO— AtlantiCare (@AtlantiCareNJ) December 15, 2020
Roughly 56,000 doses of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine shipment to New Jersey have been sent to 53 acute care hospitals across the state. The drugmaker received an emergency use authorization for its vaccine from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last Friday.
Alongside essential health care workers, long-term facility staff and residents are part of New Jersey’s highest priority group for receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. Approximately 20,000 doses of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine have been delivered to nursing homes across the state.
New Jersey is hoping to inoculate at least 70% of New Jersey’s adult population, about 4.7 million people, with a COVID-19 vaccine. Widespread distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine to the public, however, is not expected until April or May.