New Jersey expands COVID vaccine eligibility to all residents 16+ on Monday

SEWELL, New Jersey (WPVI) -- New Jersey expanded its vaccine eligibility to anyone 16 and older on Monday to align with President Joe Biden's plan to make all adults eligible by April 19.

A big part of the expansion is that most high school juniors and seniors are included now that the age requirement has been expanded.

The hope is to pick up momentum as positive cases rise across the country.

"We also have to make sure that people don't just throw caution to the wind and declare victory prematurely, that's not the time to do that," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director at the National Institute Of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

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About 3.5 million adults in New Jersey are partially vaccinated and 2.5 million are fully vaccinated.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy's goal is to reach 4.7 million by June 30.

Health officials said they need more people to sign up for appointments.

"With increasing supply of vaccine from the federal government, New Jersey has been ramping up the pace of doses administered and adding points of dispensing across the state, allowing us to extend eligibility to all adults sooner than expected," said New Jersey Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. "The Department encourages residents to get vaccinated as soon as they have the opportunity."

There were a number of openings recently and some people are able to even land appointments on the same day.

Right now, Pfizer and Moderna continue to be the two vaccines available.

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Johnson and Johnson is still on pause and is being studied after six women developed rare and severe blood clots. One of them died.

Health experts believe they should know by Friday how Johnson and Johnson could be rolled out again.

"It might be some restrictions. I'm not sure what that will be, whether it'll be age, or sex or whether they'll just come back with a warning of some sort," Fauci said.

Fauci said he believes it should become clearer by the end of the summer, early fall, about whether people could possibly need a booster shot at a later time.

CLICK HERE to learn more about how you can schedule a vaccine appointment in New Jersey.

Delaware and Pennsylvania have already allowed those 16 and up to get the shot; the City of Philadelphia opened vaccinations up to all ahead of schedule on Friday.

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