NJ could receive first COVID-19 vaccine shipment in late December: Murphy

New Jersey
Photo credit Jeenah Moon/Getty Images

TRENTON, N.J. (1010 WINS) -- New Jersey could receive more than 100,000 doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine “around Christmas” if the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves the company’s emergency use authorization request, Gov. Phil Murphy said Friday.

If the FDA authorizes the vaccine for emergency use, the Garden State will likely receive 130,000 doses in late December, Murphy said at a news briefing.

The possibility of a vaccine shipment, along with millions of BinaxNOW antigen rapid tests the state is expected to receive from the federal government before the year is over, put New Jersey in “a far different place than we were at the early stages of this pandemic,” despite the COVID-19 surge the state is experiencing, he said.

“We have a testing program in place, and it is working overtime, and we have the resources to continue to not only ensure a full testing regime across the state, but to ramp up testing when hotspots emerge,” he explained.

New Jersey reported 3,635 new positive COVID-19 test results on Friday, bringing its cumulative case total to 297,379, he said. The state also reported 23 new COVID-19-related fatalities, pushing its death toll to 14,900.

As of Thursday, 2,505 people in the state were hospitalized with confirmed or probable COVID-19 cases, 452 of whom were in intensive care and 233 of whom were on ventilators.

The state’s infection rate on Nov. 16 was 7.98 percent, Murphy said.

At his briefing, the governor warned New Jerseyans to take precautions and continue to socially distance in the coming weeks.

“This is not going to be the regular holiday season — from Thanksgiving through New Year’s,” he said. “We have to get into a different mindset for the next six weeks, and put our health and the health of our loved ones before our want to party.”

“We need to safely make it into 2021,” he added.