NEWARK– Returning to University Hospital, the location of New Jersey’s first COVID-19 vaccination on December 15, 2020, Governor Phil Murphy today announced that the state has hit its ambitious goal of fully vaccinating 4.7 million individuals who live, work, or study in New Jersey nearly two weeks before its original target date of June 30th.
“Before the arrival of vaccines in mid-December, our Administration set one of the most aggressive vaccination goals in the country,” said Governor Murphy. “Reaching our milestone of 4.7 million fully vaccinated individuals who live, work, or study in New Jersey in a little more than six months required a comprehensive statewide approach, with strong partnerships across all levels of government, the private sector, and in our communities. Our Administration built a large-scale vaccination infrastructure, with more than 1,500 vaccine distribution sites to date, to meet demand and provide equitable access to all eligible individuals. We are grateful to the millions who rolled up their sleeves to protect themselves, their families, and their communities from COVID-19, and together, we have exceeded our initial goal. While we are celebrating this remarkable achievement, our work is not yet finished, and we must continue working together to vaccinate all eligible individuals to end the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“As soon as the vaccine became available just a few months ago, our Administration made it a top priority to ensure that every New Jerseyan who was able to be vaccinated could receive one,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, who serves as Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs. “Reaching our goal of fully vaccinating 4.7 million people has enabled our businesses, places of worship and other public spaces to open. This is a huge milestone and I want to thank Governor Murphy, Commissioner Persichilli and our medical care workers for their hard work and dedication in getting us to this point.”
“Reaching our ambitious vaccine goal ahead of schedule is an incredible achievement,” said First Lady Tammy Murphy. “The spirit of shared responsibility and mutual trust that got our state through the darkest hours of the pandemic is the same spirit I have seen at countless vaccine sites where New Jerseyans have been rolling up their sleeves at record pace. We are so thankful to all who have worked tirelessly toward this milestone— especially our faith community and the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund for their incredible partnership in our Grateful for the Shot program — and I know we will continue this momentum forward.”
“The credit for the success of this vaccination program goes well beyond the Department of Health. There are thousands of people who made this day possible and it starts with our Governor," said New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. "We could not have made this progress without the federal, state and local community partners who have stood beside us along the way—county and local health agencies, hospital and long-term care facilities, community leaders, faith leaders and elected officials who have stood up vaccine sites and performed vital education and outreach. Most importantly, we are grateful for all of those who rolled up their sleeves and got vaccinated to protect their health, their loved ones, and their community."
“Reaching this milestone took a monumental amount of teamwork from our local, county, state and federal partners to coordinate and successfully administer a vaccination mission this state had never been tasked with before,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan of the New Jersey State Police. “Although this is an impressive achievement, I am most proud of the bridges we strengthened, and in many cases built, within the communities we serve.”
"Achieving the goal of 4.7 million vaccinated in New Jersey is an achievement of which we can all be proud," said Senate President Steve Sweeney. "We have reached this milestone thanks to the hard work and dedication of thousands of people throughout the state who played a role in administering COVID-19 vaccines at hundreds of sites. To be at this point nearly two weeks ahead of the June 30th target date is a testament to their success. We owe them our thanks, for this vaccination effort is paving the way for a return to normalcy that we are all now beginning to enjoy."
“Despite all of our challenges in the past year, all of our losses, all of our setbacks, to rebound and reach this milestone of 4.7 million vaccinated individuals this far ahead of the target date is an accomplishment worth noting, and worth celebrating,” said Senator Joe Vitale, Chair of the Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee. “It is fairly easy to see that as more and more individuals got vaccinated, fewer and fewer of us got sick from the coronavirus. This is a testament to the strong the will of New Jersey as a state, and to the resilience of our people, and a tribute to so many health care professionals and volunteers who helped make this happen. The work, though, is not done. We must continue to strive to get as many of our people vaccinated as possible as we continue into the summer months and prepare for the fall.”
“Vaccinations continue to work and continue prove themselves as the life-saving defense against Covid-19,” said Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin. “As we pass this 4.7 million milestone ahead of the target, I applaud the Governor for a nation-leading vaccine rollout. I also encourage New Jerseyans still weighing their options, or hesitant to get their second shot, to choose vaccination so we can all protect each other.”
"Reaching the goal of 4.7 million fully vaccinated individuals before the end of June was an endeavor made possible by the cooperation and hard work of countless people throughout our state," said Assemblyman Herb Conaway M.D., Chair of the Assembly Health Committee. "Health care workers who administered the shots, National Guard members who helped construct and run the six mega-sites, and every resident who willingly rolled up their sleeves are just some of the many people who helped save lives these past several months. Thank you to the Governor for your leadership on this historic public health initiative. To anyone who has yet to get vaccinated, I urge you to protect yourself and your community by joining 4.7 million other people in our state in getting this vaccine."
“This is a proud day for New Jersey and for the community we serve here at University Hospital,” said Shereef Elnahal, MD MBA, President and CEO of University Hospital. “We've been on this journey with the community from the beginning, breaking through hesitancy by genuinely acknowledging the history of medical racism, and eventually changing the narrative to one that emphasizes vaccination against COVID-19 as the first of many steps toward health equity. We now continue our efforts to vaccinate Newark residents by bringing the vaccine closer to where people are, through mobile vaccine efforts and beyond. On the eve of Juneteenth, we are proud of this milestone, and proud of this day and what it signifies.”
“Under the leadership of Governor Phil Murphy, the State of New Jersey has been a leader and a beacon of hope in our battle against SARS-CoV-2,” said Dr. Perry N. Halkitis, Dean of the Rutgers School of Public Health. “By coordinating efforts with local departments of health and academic institutions like the Rutgers School of Public Health, Governor Murphy has demonstrated that it takes all of us working together to defeat this virus. The innovation in thinking applied to this work demonstrates the Governor's true dedication to health equity and recognition that health is more than a biomedical phenomenon. For these reasons, we find ourselves in such excellent shape with regard to vaccination uptake.”
“With over 50% of the total population of New Jersey fully vaccinated and about 3/4 of the total population having received at least one dose, our state's vaccination program has been meeting and exceeding the goals laid out by the Governor and the President,” Dr. Stephanie Silvera, Epidemiologist/Professor of Public Health, Montclair State University. “While there is still much work to be done to ensure that we address the concerns of those who have been hesitant, and to close the racial/ethnic gaps in vaccinations, I'm confident that the outstanding public health workforce of New Jersey will be able to achieve those goals as well.