NEW JERSEY - A healthcare worker from University Hospital in Newark became the first person in New Jersey to receive the vaccine for the coronavirus.
Flanked by Gov. Phil Murphy, NJ Health Commissioner Judith Persichelli, and hospital officials, Emergency Department Registered Nurse Maritza Beniquez was administered the shot just after 8 a.m. Tuesday.
“My experience during the COVID-19 pandemic has been that of so many of my healthcare peers, and during the first wave, we faced an unprecedented volume of critically ill patients from all walks of life and adult populations," said Beniquez.
“This is a day that we have been waiting nearly a year for, and while we know this isn’t the end, we are witnessing, at the least, a glimmer of hope at the end of the tunnel,” said Gov. Murphy.
New Jersey expects to receive a total of 76,050 doses developed by Pfizer by Tuesday and approximately 86,000 doses next week. The first people to receive the vaccine across the state will be healthcare workers and long-term care residents and staff.
"There will be three batches of Pfizer vaccine in December. About 20,000 will go to long term care facilities and the remaining 54,000 to New Jersey hospitals," said Persichelli during a briefing Monday.
Hospitals in the Garden State will be the only point of dispensing the vaccine. University Hospital and Hackensack University Medical Center were the first two hospitals in the state to receive a shipment of the vaccine Monday.
“Without question, we are still in for several hard months and we are going to face stiff headwinds from this second wave, but now our heroic frontline health care workers can begin to take care of their fellow New Jerseyans with a higher degree of confidence in their own protection," said Murphy.
"Although I am living proof that PPE functions and has kept me safe while at work, I’m honored to be the first person in New Jersey to receive this vaccine, which will limit the possibility of me contracting this disease and unknowingly transmitting
“Availability of a COVID-19 vaccine within the same year as the epidemic began is a huge scientific achievement, which can help us contain this virus and save lives,” said Persichilli. “We are thankful for our hospitals—who serve communities around the state—for volunteering to provide equitable and efficient access to vaccines to our valued healthcare workforce.”
“As a woman of color, I stand in solidarity with my community and know that we are three times more likely to suffer the catastrophic effects of this disease. Although I am living proof that PPE functions and has kept me safe while at work, I’m honored to be the first person in New Jersey to receive this vaccine, which will limit the possibility of me contracting this disease and unknowingly transmitting it to others," said Beniquez.
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New Jersey suffered thousands of deaths in the early months of the pandemic and was among the first states to impose stringent restrictions on businesses and social gatherings. The state has had nearly 16,000 confirmed deaths from COVID-19, the fifth-most in the country, according to the Johns Hopkins University Medicine Coronavirus Research Center.
The virus receded during the early part of the summer but has surged in recent weeks. Murphy noted Monday that more than 700 patients with COVID-19 were in intensive care units in hospitals across the state.
A healthcare worker from University Hospital in Newark became the first person in New Jersey to receive the vaccine for the coronavirus. FOX 5 NY
With the Associated Press