NJ Commissioner of Health Judith Persichilli COVID-19 provided a status report yesterday on the status of vaccine distribution in NJ.
CVS & RIte Aid Vaccination Distribution Sites
“….the Governor has provided an update on the federal retail pharmacy partnership with CVS and Rite Aid. They will be receiving more than 27,000 doses from the federal government to increase vaccine access in our state. Over 20 CVS sites and over 70 Rite Aid sites will begin vaccinating eligible residents over the next week.
Vaccine Supplies Increases
Yesterday, as the Governor shared, we also received the good news that the federal government will also be shipping vaccine doses directly to the federally qualified health care centers around the country and in our state, so we look forward to New Jersey benefiting from this program when our time comes up.
As you know, the FQHCs provide care to residents in underserved communities around the state, regardless of an individual's ability to pay. These centers are community-based, all of them are accessible by public transportation, and many of these centers are trusted medical homes for the uninsured and the undocumented. Currently, more than 30 FQHC sites in New Jersey are signed up to provide COVID-19 vaccinations in New Jersey. The federal announcement of additional doses to the community health centers aligns with our continued commitment to the strategic aim of equity in vaccine distribution. Both of these programs will bring their own doses with them, so it will be on top of what our state receives every week.
As vaccine doses increase, we'll be able to open up more appointments, giving eligible residents more opportunities. The allocation of first doses this week is Pfizer 55,575, and Moderna 87,400 doses. This is an increase of more than 6,000 doses of what we expected to receive. For the second dose, we will receive 55,575 Pfizer and 56,100 Moderna. As I have shared with you in the past, we have reserved all of the second doses for individuals who have received their first doses.
For the week ending February 21st, we are expecting an increase in the number of first doses of Pfizer, an increase of about 12,000 doses, for a total of 67,860 doses. We expect the same amount of the Moderna first doses that we have received this week, and that is 87,400. For the week of February 28th, that amount will remain steady, 67,865 Pfizer first doses and 87,400 Moderna first doses.
But even with those increases, the demand for appointments is currently greater than the appointments we have available. If you are in a group that is eligible to receive a vaccine, you can preregister for the vaccine on the NJ Vaccine Scheduling System available at covid19.nj.gov/vaccine and you will be notified when an appointment is available to you. Right now, all of our available appointments are full. Or, you can make an appointment at one of the designated vaccine sites directly, and you can also find that connection on covid19.nj.gov/vaccine.
NJ Call Center
Beginning last evening, we had placed a temporary pause on the call center’s ability to schedule appointments. While the agents were working to assist those who wanted appointments, we discovered we needed to streamline the system on the agent end to prevent scheduling errors, and also offer further training to the agents so that they can best meet your needs. The call center can still provide information about vaccination sites, they can still preregister individuals and answer frequently asked questions about COVID-19 vaccine. We hope to bring up their scheduling capability in the near future.
As we continue to work to vaccinate residents of our state, we continue to reinforce that residents still need to follow all of the safeguarding methods until enough individuals are vaccinated to produce community protection. The state has seen the impact of public health measures such as physical distancing and masking as it helped us flatten the curve last spring. A new CDC report demonstrates the value of masking. Their data indicates that statewide mask mandates may be associated with the reduced spread of COVID-19 and contributes to declines in weekly COVID-19 associated hospitalization growth rates for adults aged 18 to 64.
NJ Statewide Mask Mandate
During the weeks following the implementation of the statewide mask mandate, hospitalization growth rates declined 2.9 percentage points among adults aged 40 to 64. After mask mandates had been in place for three weeks or more, the COVID-19 hospital growth rates declined 5.5 percentage points among adults aged 18 to 64. It is vital that we adhere to masking. Research indicates that asymptomatic spread is responsible now for nearly 60% of COVID-19 transmission. Mask wearing can reduce the risk of spread from people who don't have symptoms or haven't developed symptoms yet. Wearing a mask consistently and correctly over your nose and mouth is one of the best ways to protect yourself against getting infected with or spreading COVID-19. So masking, social distancing, staying home when you're sick, can also help with preventing all respiratory viral illnesses.
As we review our weekly flu reports, we are seeing that flu activity is unusually low this year in the state. Typically, we expect to see peak flu illness by now. However, flu activity remains low across the entire state.
Thankfully, there have been no new reports of severe pediatric flu illnesses or deaths in New Jersey to date this season but nationally, there have been reports, so New Jersey is doing a little bit better. Children can develop more severe illness in comparison to adults. While activity is low now, we are still seeing flu circulating so we want to remind all of you, those who haven't yet, there's still time to get a flu shot. It's not too late to get vaccinated against the flu.
Daily Statistical Report
Moving on to my daily report, as the Governor shared, our hospitals reported 2,786 hospitalizations due to COVID-19 positive patients and PUIs. That's one of our lowest census in a while. There are no new reports, thankfully, of the multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children. There are 88 cumulative cases in our state. Three of these children are currently hospitalized.
We are reporting two new reports of B-117 variants in patients, which emerged in the UK. The two new reports are in Essex County, so now there are 33 reports of this variant in New Jersey.
State Veterans Homes
At the state veteran homes, the good news is there are no new positive cases among the residents. At the state psychiatric hospitals, there is one new positive case among patients at Trenton Psychiatric Hospital.
Test Positivity Rate
The positivity rate in New Jersey as of February 6th was 12.16%. The Northern part of the state reports 12.85, Central 12.72, Southern part of the state 9.62. That concludes my daily report.
Please stay safe, continue to mask up, social distance, stay home when you're sick, get tested.
And remember, for each other and for us all, please take the call and download the COVID Alert New Jersey App.
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Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thomson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thomson-Reuters). For over 4 decades the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman 1.973.696.7900 firstname.lastname@example.org has been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.
Blog: Workers ' Compensation
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Author: "Workers' Compensation Law" West-Thomson-Reuters