Gov. Murphy tours Moorestown vaccination mega-site, says supply still a problem

MOORESTOWN, New Jersey (WPVI) -- New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy toured the Burlington County vaccine mega-site on Friday at the Moorestown Mall, which has been operating for a week.

Murphy said he's happy with the infrastructure in place around the state. It's now a matter of getting more vaccines so more people can schedule appointments.

While the Biden administration has promised to manufacture and distribute more vaccines, Murphy believes it'll be another month or two before New Jersey sees an increase.

"I don't think we're going to see, unfortunately, a big increase in supply for a while," said Murphy on Friday.

VIDEO: Dr. Fauci on COVID-19 variants around the world
EMBED More News Videos

During a White House press briefing on Jan. 21, Dr. Anthony Fauci discusses variants of COVID-19, saying, "We're paying very close attention to it."

To date, state officials say just over 500,000 vaccines have been administered in New Jersey, and 65,000 of those have been given to long term care residents and staff.

Murphy says the federal partnership with Walgreens and CVS for long term care is moving slower than other vaccine operations around the state, and says he's meeting with Walgreens officials to discuss the process.

At the Moorestown Mall site, Virtua Health officials say appointments are booked through April, but they hope to shift people to earlier appointments as they get more supply.

"As we get more appointments available as a result of getting more vaccine, we'll try to move some of those folks up as well as populate the schedule," said Dennis Pullin, president and CEO of Virtua Health.

On Friday, state officials reported two cases of the new COVID-19 UK variant, both of whom have recovered.

EMBED More News Videos

Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Judy Persichilli confirmed Friday that two cases of the U.K. COVID-19 variant have been found in New Jersey.

Vaccine recipients leaving the Moorestown Mall Friday say they are grateful.

"I'm going to start crying. I can't say how relieved I am to get it," said Kathy Benefield of Pitman, N.J., who says she has heart problems that put her in a high-risk category.

State Senator Troy Singleton was also vaccinated at the Moorestown Mall on Friday, saying he has Type 2 diabetes.

He's been encouraging his black constituents in the 7th District to get the vaccine.

"My intention here today is to encourage so many folks who look like me to make sure they sign up for an appointment and make sure they get it, because this is the only way we'll get beyond this pandemic is to make sure that everyone, for the greater good, is vaccinated," said Singleton.

Starting Monday at 8 a.m., the state is launching a hotline to help people who have questions or need help with scheduling. That number is (855) 568-0545.
Copyright © 2021 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.