Coronavirus update: Vaccination plan filed with CDC

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Vaccination plan filed with CDC

Gov. Murphy announced that the state submitted the first draft of its COVID-19 vaccination plan on Oct. 16.

He said the planning began in earnest as the state began to deal with an onslaught of coronavirus cases in the early spring and that everything kicked into “higher gear” over the summer, when the state looked at issues that included logistics, public outreach and prioritization.

“In March of this year, [Health Commissioner] Judy [Persichilli] convened the New Jersey Department of Health COVID-19 Professional Advisory Committee which has been offering expert guidance on several critical issues, such as allocation of scarce resources,” he said. “In April, the department began planning for the distribution of potential vaccines that were in early phases of development.”

The governor emphasized that the plans are a work in progress that will continue to be fine tuned.

“It is by no means final; I used the word draft deliberately,” he added. “We continue to think of how we can ensure greater efficiency and we continue to list the new unknowns that we have to consider, many of which only the federal government and the vaccine clinical trials can answer.”

The plan has three aims: provide equitable access to a vaccine, achieve maximum community protection and build public trust in a vaccine, not just for COVID-19 but other diseases.

Murphy said once the aims are reached, they will meet the goal of vaccinating 70% of the state’s qualifying adult population. He added that coordination will be similar to the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic: data-driven, informed by experts and working in concert with local health departments, health centers and hospitals to distribute the vaccine.

The governor also said that they will work to make sure information about the vaccine is communicated in “clear, concise language,” citing skepticism about a vaccine and online misinformation that has frustrated officials across the country in fighting the pandemic.

“We cannot let the online rumors and social media-driven conspiracy theories jeopardize our ability to build statewide immunity against the deadly virus,” he said.

Murphy said while the state will welcome “one or more” vaccines, they will not “rush forward,” promising to be as methodical and deliberate as they approach a vaccination plan as they have been in managing the pandemic. He adds that federal government funding is crucial and said they have “so far indicated no interest” in providing further funding.

The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials and the Association of Immunization Managers has sent a letter to congressional leaders asking them for at least $8.4 billion for a national vaccination plan, Murphy said.

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