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COVID Vaccine: New Jersey Plans To Open Mega Vaccination Sites In January

TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- With COVID-19 cases still very high in New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy has announced a plan to open mega vaccination sites in January.

"As each eligible group is able to step into the queue, we will be ready for them," the governor said.

More than 2,000 of the state's 650,000 health care workers have received the first dose of their COVID vaccine so far, acting as role models for everyone else, CBS2's Meg Baker reports.

Frontline heroes with Englewood Health proudly rolled up their sleeves for the first of two doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine.

"Definitely proud. I feel like I'm doing something that's gonna help so many other people," patient care associate Brianna Cioffi said.

"Let's not forget that just because vaccines are here doesn't mean we can become lax. Quite the opposite. Now is the time for us to double down," Murphy said.

It will take months to get to regular folks, but the state is preparing. Six vaccine mega sites will open in early January.

In our area, sites will be located at the Meadowlands Complex in Bergen County, the Rockway Town Square Mall in Morris and the New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center in Middlesex.

The three other sites are in South Jersey.


"Our goal is to vaccine 70% of the eligible adult population within six months. This is a huge undertaking as it could represent as many as 4.7 million individuals," said health commissioner Judy Persichilli.

But will we have enough vaccines?

"We expect that the demand for the vaccine will outpace the supply," Persichilli said.

Several states, including New Jersey, have been told to expect fewer doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines from the federal government in the second week of distribution.

The health commissioner says they were expecting more than 86,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine next week. Now, it's less than 54,000, CBS2's Jessica Layton reports.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Info Hub | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

"I spoke at the very senior levels of Pfizer yesterday, and they have no idea why this is being done," Murphy said.

Pfizer put out a statement saying there are "millions [of] doses sitting in our warehouse but we have not received any shipment instructions for additional doses." The federal government has final say on shipments.

"We will be communicating continuously with the public on the timing of this phased implementation plan," Persichilli said.

The governor says he will be talking to the White House about this delay on Monday and provide an update then.

Watch Meg Baker's report --

Meanwhile, the Reservoir Nursing Home in West Hartford, Connecticut, became one of the first in the nation to begin vaccinating workers and residents. Gov. Ned Lamont called the vaccines "vials of hope."

In New York, with a crushing number of new cases colliding with more holidays, many fear another lockdown is imminent. Gov. Andrew Cuomo says only we can control what happens.

"New Yorkers have the shutdown in their hands. Celebrate smart, health holidays, hospital management, we don't shut down. I bet on New York," he said.

Meg Baker and Jessica Layton contributed to this report.


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