TRENTON, New Jersey (WPVI) -- New Jersey is expecting shipments of Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines as soon as December, Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said Friday.
The earliest shipments are expected to go to health care professionals and first responders first, with the vaccine likely becoming available to the public in April or May, she said.
Persichilli said the Pfizer vaccine is administered in two doses 21 days apart, with 130,000 units of the vaccine coming in mid-December, followed by another 130,000 units by the end of the year. Moderna, which is given in two shots 28 days apart, would likely send 100,000 doses in December and another 100,000 weeks later, she said.
The announcement comes the same day Pfizer asked U.S. regulators for emergency use of its vaccine, with Moderna not far behind.
The Pfizer vaccine requires ultra-cold storage, while Moderna's needs only refrigeration. Persichilli said 40 of the state's hospitals have said they have the ability to maintain ultra-cold storage.
New Jersey is aiming to vaccinate about 4.7 million adults, or about 70% of the state's population, within six months of availability, according to the commissioner.
The seven-day average of coronavirus cases for the second week in November, according to state figures, reached more than 3,500 cases daily, compared with about 900 cases a day in October. In September, the average was about 460.
Hospitalizations are also up, reaching more than 2,500, compared with about 760 a month ago and roughly 400 the month before that.
Murphy signs expanded stadium raffle bill amid coronavirus
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed a measure Wednesday expanding charitable groups' ability to sell raffle tickets online based around sporting events after lawmakers addressed his concerns that the original bill was too close to internet gambling.
The Democratic governor last month conditionally vetoed a bill aimed at helping charities' fundraising during the coronavirus pandemic.
In vetoing it, Murphy noted that the original bill would have allowed such online sales long after a virus pandemic keeping people away from stadiums has ended.
Lawmakers on Monday made several changes to the bill, including limiting the ability to sell tickets online only during periods of a declared health emergency, and Murphy signed the revised bill two days later.
Because the coronavirus pandemic has eliminated in-person attendance at large sporting events in the state, some legislators proposed expanding the law to let people buy tickets to such raffles over the internet, regardless of whether they were in a stadium or not.
While lauding the intent of the bill, Murphy sent it back to lawmakers with recommended changes including requiring the same sort of geolocation technology that New Jersey's casinos and racetracks use to ensure that a person making an online casino or sports wager is physically located within the state's boundaries.
He also recommended that winners of remote contests be required to pick up their prizes at the stadium or at the headquarters of the charitable group that sponsored the raffle, to ensure that the necessary verifications take place, another change that was made to the bill before he signed it.
New Limits on Gatherings
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has reduced indoor gathering limits because of the COVID-19 resurgence with outdoor limits soon to follow.
Earlier this week, Murphy ordered indoor gatherings to fall from 25 to 10 and outdoor get-togethers from 500 to 150 people. The new indoor limit went into effect 6 a.m. Tuesday, while the outdoor level kicks in Nov. 23.
Religious services, celebrations, political events, weddings, funerals, memorial services and performances may continue under the current rules, but are limited to 25% of a room's capacity, up to 150 people, Murphy said in a tweet.
"We think those are steps, coupled with the other steps we have taken, which will hopefully begin to shake these numbers down," he told MSNBC. "This is a lot of fatigue. It's a lot of private setting transmission. Particularly with the holidays coming up, we've got to plead with people to not let their hair down, to be vigilant, social distance, face coverings, all the basic stuff we know works."
The lower levels come just before Thanksgiving and ahead of the winter holidays.
Murphy said he understood that the new limits would lead to frustration, but said little about this year has been normal.
"I must again pull back the reins," he said. "It gives me no joy."
New Jersey's coronavirus levels have been spiking, which Murphy has said amounts to a "second wave."
On Wednesday, Murphy said there were 4,063 new cases of COVID-19 in the state and 2,446 patients are currently in the hospital
"There is no way to sugarcoat any of these numbers. They are not good and they are trending worse. The only way we can reverse these is to wear masks, social distance, wash hands and not attend any private gatherings outside of our immediate families in our own homes," he said.
Murphy said the tighter limits are aimed at limiting house parties, which he said contribute to climbing COVID-19 rates.
Last week, new statewide dining restrictions went into effect, putting a late-night curfew on indoor dining and eliminating barside seating at all times.
Camden County has been one of the hardest-hit counties in our area recently, reporting 400 new cases Sunday.
Last week, the county opened up a COVID testing site at Camden County College in Cherry Hill because of increased demand.
"I want to be responsible. I want everyone to be safe, so I canceled my party. In terms of Thanksgiving, we're all going to keep it low key," said Dr. Alicea Davis of Camden.
Murphy spoke virtually with governors in surrounding states Sunday night.
"Together, we will follow the science, keep our region safe, and save lives," Murphy said.
Despite a surge in cases in Camden County, students in the Cherry Hill School District went back to the classroom on November 17 on a hybrid schedule.
To learn more about the district's hybrid learning schedule, CLICK HERE
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.