Residents and staff at more than 90 nursing homes in the state will begin getting vaccinated against the coronavirus next week, Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said during a news conference Wednesday.
Persichilli and Gov. Phil Murphy have come under criticism over the state missing a federal deadline for filing paperwork to start the nursing home vaccinations this week. Murphy and Persichilli will be at one of the long-term care facilities that will receive vaccinations Monday, they said, though they did not disclose the location.
About 27,730 health care workers had received their first dose of vaccine by Wednesday morning in 56 hospitals and six other clinic sites in the state, Persichilli said.
Earlier Wednesday, Murphy was in Toms River, where staff at the federally qualified health center Ocean Health Initiatives got vaccinated with the Moderna vaccine.
Murphy said positive test results for the virus continue to climb, as do hospitalizations, which at 3,841 is at a level not seen since May.
“Folks, you are sick of hearing this — I don’t blame you,” Murphy said. “But don’t screw up Christmas. Don’t go big. Don’t go multigenerational. Stay within your own family.”
If gathering with others for Christmas, Murphy said, do it outdoors.
The positivity rate of those tested is 12.97% statewide and even higher in South Jersey at 15%, Persichilli said.
Persichilli also announced a partnership between the state and Rite Aid pharmacies to provide vaccinations to home health care and hospice staff at mobile clinics.
“Overall, our plan is comprehensive and inclusive, far beyond serving just nursing homes,” Murphy said.
Officials have said New Jersey was one of 38 states that could not make the paperwork deadline for starting nursing home vaccinations this week with the Federal Pharmacy Partnership Program, due to complications in the paperwork and with the supply of vaccine.
“We expect to receive 405,925 Pfizer and Moderna doses in December,” Persichilli said.
She said the state this week received a total of 208,000 doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.