Gov. Murphy Joins Eyewitness News As New Jersey Closing In On 1st 2 Million COVID-19 Vaccine Shots

Jessica Kartalija reports.

Video Transcript

JESSICA KARTALIJA: New Jersey is closing in on its first 2 million vaccine shots. We are joined now by Governor Phil Murphy. Thanks so much for being with us today, governor. As we mark the one-year anniversary of the pandemic and states are starting to loosen restrictions ahead of spring break, what are you most concerned about?

PHIL MURPHY: Good to be with you, Jessica, and it's been an unbelievable and heartbreaking year. I think I'm most concerned, honestly, about people letting their hair down. I'm confident we're going to have the vaccine supplies that we need. We have built out a massive distribution system. Our numbers are going up by the day. I think we'll get to 3 million shots in the arms this weekend. I know the Biden team is doing a great job delivering that over the next number of weeks.

I think complacency. You know, we have the variants in our state. We've got the Brazilian, the UK, and South Africa, and the New York City. And they're more transmissible, not necessarily more lethal but more transmissible. So that's my big concern.

We're going to get there. We're going to be able to open up. The weather will get better. Vaccines will be available to anybody who wants them over the next couple of months. I just don't want folks to let their guard down too soon.

JESSICA KARTALIJA: Right. Now, you've also been adamant that this new stimulus bill is not overinflated. How do you hope that this money is going to help New Jersey residents specifically?

PHIL MURPHY: Yeah. I mean, thank God it got passed and signed. It's going to be a game changer. I was looking at the long list of areas that we've done a lot as a state, but no state has the firepower that the federal government has. So from the money to support vaccines, testing, the folks who are in arrears on rent, or mortgage payments, or utility payments, child care, small businesses and restaurants that have been clobbered, the needs are up and down our state-- unemployed folks. We will put every dime of this to good use, and we need every dime that we've got.

JESSICA KARTALIJA: Last night, President Biden also set a goal to have enough vaccine available for all Americans by May 1. If that's the case, do you think Americans, as he also suggested, throwing out this timeline, could really get back to normal by July 4th? Are we going to be down the shore with family and friends July 4th, safely?

PHIL MURPHY: Jessica, I hope you're down there on Memorial Day. That's the-- that's the holiday that we've targeted. But certainly by the 4th of July. Will it be completely back to normal? No, I'm not sure that we'll be all on top of each other in some crowded club. But it's going to be a lot more normal than it is right now and a lot more normal than last summer on the shore. So I'm looking forward to a fantastic Jersey Shore summer.

JESSICA KARTALIJA: All right. See you there, governor. Thank you so much for joining us. All right.

PHIL MURPHY: Thank you.

JESSICA KARTALIJA: Take care.

PHIL MURPHY: Thanks for having me.

JESSICA KARTALIJA: Thank you.