NJ Still Urges COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters for Eligible People

NEW JERSEY – As the holidays approach, New Jersey officials are urging eligible residents to receive additional doses of the COVID-19 vaccines. It’s a work in progress, however, as less than a quarter of eligible people have received reminders, according to state figures.

So far, nearly 832,000 people in New Jersey have received booster doses of the Pfizer-BioNtech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, or about 23% of those eligible, according to the state Department of Health. . There are 6.1 million New Jersey residents who are fully vaccinated as of Thursday, according to the state’s COVID-19 Dashboard.

The hope and the goal is for everyone who qualifies to receive the extra shot, said Nancy Kearney, spokesperson for the health department.

“New Jersey is actively promoting booster doses for all who are eligible to receive them,” Kearney said. Promotion was done through social media, advertisements and vaccination events, as well as the efforts of local and county health departments. The department also promoted the boosters via about 3 million text messages, sent by the New Jersey Vaccine Call Center, she said.

“Booster doses provide additional protection with potentially waning immunity,” Kearney said, “particularly with the delta variant still impacting New Jersey.”

The federal Centers for Disease Control estimates that nearly 99% of new coronavirus cases, through October 16, were caused by the delta variant. This percentage is based on genome sequencing of 3,026 samples over a four week period ending October 16.

The state’s transmission rate among residents – vaccinated and unvaccinated – hovers around 1%, but the positivity rate has increased slightly and was 5.40% as of November 6, the most recent date available on the state’s COVID. 19 dashboard.

At Monday’s coronavirus update press conference, Gov. Phil Murphy said there have been 44,955 groundbreaking cases of COVID-19 in New Jersey since vaccinations began. Of those, 1,002 fully vaccinated people had to be hospitalized and 258 died, said Murphy and state health commissioner Judith Persichilli.

That’s why there’s continued pressure for boosters for those at risk, Kearney said, because they offer extra protection for those whose immunity may have been waned.

As of Nov. 7, people 65 and over had the highest uptake of recalls, with 408,941 people receiving them, or about 35.8% of those potentially eligible, Kearney said.

Among eligible people aged 50 to 64, 180,872 boosters were administered, or about 16.1% of the potentially eligible group.

There were 112,281 boosters administered to those who are eligible among those aged 30 to 49, or about 10.5% of those potentially eligible.

Of those aged 18 to 29, about 5.5% received boosters, with 24,028 doses administered.

On Monday, Murphy raised the possibility of extending access to recalls to all adults in New Jersey.

“We’re sitting on more supply than demand,” Murphy said.

However, the CDC has yet to make that decision. Pfizer-BioNtech, which had a prior request to make boosters available to anyone 18 years of age or older refused by the Federal Food and Drug Administration, has renewed its request to the FDA to extend eligibility, NPR reported. The CDC sets its guidelines based on what the FDA has approved.

Kearney said the state will continue to follow CDC eligibility guidelines for boosters.

“The Department continues to transfer doses to other locations throughout the state to meet needs and ensure equal access to vaccines,” she said.

According to the CDC, for people who have received a Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, the following groups are eligible for a booster six months or more after their initial series:

The clearance also recommends that anyone aged 18 and over who received a first dose of Johnson & Johnson be given a booster dose at least two months after completing the primary single dose regimen.

Additionally, according to the CDC, “Eligible people can choose which vaccine they receive as a booster dose. Some people may have a preference for the type of vaccine they originally received and others may prefer. receive a different booster. The CDC’s recommendations now allow this type of dosage mix and match for booster injections. “

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