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We Did The Math: Here’s Why It Is So Hard To Get a Covid Vaccine Appointment in New Jersey

by Candace Mitchell,

This story is being republished under a special NJ News Commons content-sharing agreement related to COVID-19 coverage. Link to story:

A week after Gov. Phil Murphy expanded COVID vaccine eligibility to include residents 65 and older and anyone 16 to 64 with chronic medical conditions, most of those who are eligible have not been able to schedule an appointment for the vaccine, let alone get the shot.

“The demand is greater than the supply” has been repeated over and over again by officials at New Jersey’s COVID briefings. Here’s what that supply really looks like:

• According to the CDC, 898,550 COVID vaccine doses have been distributed to New Jersey

• Of that, 437,064 had been administered as of Wednesday afternoon

• 214,000 doses have been set aside for nursing homes and of that around 50,000 have been administered, Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said Tuesday. That leaves about 164,000 doses waiting to be administered to nursing homes and not available to the general public

Do the math: that leaves about 250,000 doses for the millions of state residents currently eligible to get the COVID vaccine. It’s no wonder appointments are hard to come by.

“It may be some time before you receive an invitation to make an appointment, even if you are currently eligible,” Persichilli warned Tuesday, asking the public to be patient.

Murphy said during a Tuesday briefing that he doesn’t regret expanding vaccine access to so many people so fast.

“All that we are currently missing are the doses of vaccines necessary for us to put this machine into high gear,” Murphy said on Tuesday.

New Jersey gets about 100,000 doses from the federal government each week.