NEW JERSEY – Gov. Phil Murphy this weekend questioned why New Jersey got fewer doses of the coronavirus vaccine than expected – and he said New Jersey is going to "turn over single stone" to get the doses the Garden State needs.
"We have not yet gotten a satisfactory answer, so we will continue to turn every single stone to get the doses we need," Murphy told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Friday night.
Army Gen. Gustave Perna subsequently apologized to New Jersey and other states for providing fewer vaccine doses than those states originally anticipated.
"So to the governors, to the governors' staff, please accept my personal apology if this was disruptive in your decision-making and your conversations with your great state. I will work hard to correct this," Perna said.
"This is a Herculean effort and we are not perfect," Perna said, adding that the doses must be "releasable" in accordance with the US Food and Drug Administration.
Perna offered his explanation at the 2:44 mark:
Murphy has said his state was supposed to get 300,000 to 500,000 vaccine doses in New Jersey by the end of December, and the initial batch will be 76,000. It's not clear what the new totals will be. Read more: NJ Streamlines Vaccine Distribution, Provides New Timing Details
Here is Murphy on CNN:
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy says his state is one of many states receiving fewer doses of Covid-19 vaccine than originally anticipated. “We have not yet got satisfactory answer. And so, we will continue to turn over every single stone to get the doses we need.” pic.twitter.com/64yPaMFMtQ
— CNN (@CNN) December 19, 2020
Otherwise, Murphy said the distribution has been going "very well" since the first doses of the Pfizer vaccine were administered in Newark on Tuesday.
Murphy was also confident that New Jersey would be able to administer the first doses of the Moderna vaccine once it was approved by the FDA on Friday night and distributed.
But Murphy said he expected the distribution is "much smaller relative to the (New Jersey) requirement. We want to get to 70 percent of our adults."
"The supply-demand imbalance is real and we have to address that as a nation sooner than later," Murphy told CNN.
He's also not pleased that Congress has dragged its feet on approving a stimulus bill, one that could ultimately help with the distribution of the vaccine.
"I feel like we need Mo Howard and 'The Three Stooges' to bang heads and get something out of there,
The governor said he hopes to help address that problem by setting up six vaccine "megasites" in January in its effort to provide COVID-19 vaccinations to residents who want them, starting with the state's health care workers and first responders.
The six "megasites" will be spread around the state and will be supplemented by more than 200 satellite vaccination centers in hospitals, urgent care centers and chain pharmacies, state officials said.
"This allows us to put the infrastructure in place to administer the vaccine to every resident who wishes to be vaccinated," Murphy said a Friday news conference.
The goal is to get 70 percent of New Jersey's residents vaccinated within 6 months against the coronavirus, which causes COVID-19. More than 2,000 people a day will be vaccinated at the megasites.
The vaccine megasites, expected to open from mid- January to early February, will accept front-line health care workers first, followed by other essential employees – typically emergency personnel such as police and first aid – and then adults 65 or older and those with high-risk health conditions. Read more: Here's Who Is Getting The COVID-19 Vaccine First In New Jersey
Here are the locations:
Bergen County: Meadowlands
Morris County: Rockaway Townsquare Mall
Middlesex County: New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center
Burlington County: Mooretown Mall
Gloucester County: Rowan College of South Jersey
Atlantic County: Atlantic City Convention Center
The satellite vaccination sites are still being set up, Murphy said, but will be at hospitals, federally qualified health care centers, urgent care centers, chain pharmacies and other localized sites arranged with local and county health departments. Read more: Gov. Murphy: NJ Opening 6 COVID Vaccine 'Megasites:' Here's Where
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