December 06, 2020
As the state prepares to receive the initial doses of a coronavirus vaccine later this month, New Jersey is taking additional steps to make sure that it is safely and efficiently distributed to all residents.
Gov. Phil Murphy has signed an executive order that will automatically enroll any resident who wishes to receive a COVID-19 vaccine into the New Jersey Immunization Information System.
Inclusion into the state’s COVID-19 vaccine registry was previously an opt-in policy for residents. Residents who are enrolled in the state database can opt out 30 days after the public health emergency concludes.
The purpose of New Jersey’s COVID-19 vaccine registry is to keep a record of recipients’ information so that the state and federal government can effectively monitor the administration of dosages. The two vaccines awaiting authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration each require two doses to be fully effective.
Murphy said that the state’s coronavirus vaccine information database is most vital for health care personnel, emergency responders and other essential workers who continue to serve on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic and will be prioritized during the distribution process.
"As we continue to prepare for the first tranche of vaccines in New Jersey, we are exploring every avenue to maximize efficacy and efficiency," Murphy said. "We’re taking this step today to ensure that New Jerseyans who choose to receive a COVID-19 vaccine get the most effective course, on the proper timetable, without logistical or bureaucratic hurdles in the way."
"Accurate accounting of every dose of vaccine is vital to monitoring implementation progress of New Jersey’s vaccination plan," New Jersey Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said. "The system will also allow us to ensure residents are returning for the second dose of vaccine."
The state will not require anyone to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, but it is strongly encouraging all residents to take one once it becomes available, Murphy said.
Several hospitals are preparing to receive the first shipments of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, pending an emergency use authorization from the FDA. Moderna also has applied for emergency authorization for its vaccine.
The first distribution will be approximately 76,000 doses, Murphy said. He said that the preparation was being done to ensure that delivery and storage systems work and to help the federal government expedite the distribution process.
The state began developing its vaccine distribution plans at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March. New Jersey then submitted its official coronavirus vaccine playbook to the federal government in October, stating that it hoped to inoculate 70% of adults over a six-month stretch.
Despite a coronavirus vaccine likely arriving soon, Murphy has urged residents to continue wearing face masks and practicing social distancing. He also warned that the COVID-19 pandemic will not end until the vaccine becomes widely available and enough residents receive it.
"The light on the other side of this pandemic is now becoming visible," Murphy said. "The presence of a vaccine in our state does not mean that we can flip a light switch and remove all restrictions. Full brightness will take months and millions of New Jerseyans getting vaccinated."