Today we heard from two public health experts helping to guide the planning and execution of New Jersey’s COVID-19 vaccination program. Dr. Eddy Bresnitz, Medical Advisor to the NJ Department of Health and chair of the state’s Professional Advisory Committee, began by summarizing what New Jerseyans need to know about the two available FDA authorized vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna mRNA), including the following:

  • Both vaccines are approximately 95% effective.
  • Adolescents ages 16 and 17 are eligible to receive the Pfizer Biotech vaccine.
  • It is not yet known how well the vaccine prevents COVID-19 transmission, so those vaccinated should still mask, social distance and take other measures to protect others.
  • The vaccine’s durability is not yet known – it may require booster doses.
  • The vaccine may be administered to people with underlying conditions who have no contraindications to vaccination. Those who are immunocompromised or have autoimmune disorders should consult with their doctor before vaccination.

Dr. Bresnitz also provided an update on New Jersey’s tiers for priority vaccination: in Tier 1A, which includes those working or volunteering in healthcare with potential for direct or indirect exposure and all residents and workers of long-term care facilities, “everyone who wants a vaccine has gotten one.” Those now eligible in Tier 1B include all first responders, individuals 65+, and those ages 16-64 with medical conditions that increase risk of severe illness, including individuals who are pregnant or immunocompromised. Those eligible next under tier 1C will include other essential workers and other individuals at high risk, before availability is expanded to the general population under Phase 2.

Dr. David Adinaro, Deputy Commissioner of Public Health Services at the NJ Department of Health, shared the latest information on statewide vaccine distribution and progress toward the state’s vaccination goals. He shared the following resources:

Dr. Adinaro stressed that the vaccine’s success depends on all of our participation. He asked that every New Jerseyan help in the following ways:

  • Even after you have been vaccinated, continue practicing safeguarding measures such as masking and social distancing.
  • Support eligible organization members considering vaccination through policies such time off, paid sick leave and childcare
  • Seek out and share educational materials, including relevant information on where to get vaccinated if eligible
  • … and, once you are eligible, get vaccinated!

More detail on the latest vaccine recommendations is included in Dr. Bresnitz and Adinaro’s attached presentations. You can also hear more from Dr. Bresnitz on this recent NJ DOH podcast about vaccine safety.

More than 120 people joined us for this webinar.