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NJ has administered about 100,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines out of about 400,000 received

Posted at 5:52 PM, Jan 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-04 17:52:32-05

NEW JERSEY — The Garden State began its second round of COVID-19 vaccinations for health care workers Monday; the booster shot is expected to help people develop a 95% immunity to the coronavirus.

Newark University Hospital ER nurse Maritza Beniquez was the first person in New Jersey to get the COVID-19 vaccine in December. She received her second shot Monday.

She said she was, "just really happy."

It takes a few weeks for the full immunity to develop.

"I know that by the end of this month, I am 95% immune," Beniquez said.

New Jersey officials said Monday out of 400,000 doses the state received, only about 100,000 shots have been administered.

"People after the holidays will be lining up," Health Commissioner Judy Persichelli said. "We did get anecdotal information that people did not want to get vaccinated during the holidays in case they didn't feel well."

The City of Paterson is working on speeding up vaccine distribution. It opened a new POD, or point of dispensing, to give out the Moderna vaccine at International High School.

"We heard the call to action. President-Elect Joe Biden says we have to move faster and that's what we are trying to do here in Paterson," Mayor Andre Sayegh said.

Vaccine distribution is still in category 1A, which is health care workers and long-term care settings. An advisory committee is expected to meet Monday night to determine who is part of 1B.

While New York's governor has threatened to fine providers if the vaccine isn't used up within seven days, the Murphy administration said only allocation would change in New Jersey,

"We are in contact with of all of our vaccine sites to determine whether they need more doses or whether we hold back and give to places that are vaccinating at a higher rate," Health Commissioner Persichelli said

Officials said New Jersey's latest positivity rate was above 11% and vaccines for the general population are months away. However, the state is looking for volunteers to be part of a medical reserve corp. Retired doctors, nurses or pharmacists are eligible to join and administer the vaccine when efforts ramp up.