NJ hits 4.7M vaccinated against COVID; DOH building to be named for Persichilli
NEWARK — At the same hospital where New Jersey's first COVID-19 vaccine shot was administered six months prior, Gov. Phil Murphy on Friday announced the state had surpassed a goal he and Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli set, for 4.7 million people who live, work, or attend school in the state to be fully vaccinated by June 30.
That number was selected because it represented, as of vaccine rollout discussions Murphy said began last October, approximately 70% of the state's adult population, a percentage public health officials have said is the minimum threshold for "herd immunity" against the novel coronavirus.
However, that ratio may have shifted based on 2020 Census figures, so Murphy said the state's targeted vaccination push will continue, particularly in underserved communities, referring to 4.7 million as an "initial goal."
"Through Operation Jersey Summer, we're going to continue to reach deep into every community, alongside respected community voices, to push even higher," Murphy said at University Hospital in Newark.
Murphy also used the achievement of this "self-appointed deadline" to announce that legislation jointly sponsored by state Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin will name the Department of Health's new Trenton facility "The Judith M. Persichilli Department of Health Building," in honor of the commissioner who has led the state through the pandemic.
"Governor, I don't even know what to say, except that it's a pretty long name, so it's got to be a pretty big building, I don't understand," Persichilli joked.
Murphy and Persichilli were joined Friday by Dr. Shereef Elnahal, Persichilli's predecessor and the current president and CEO of University Hospital, and Maritza Beniquez, the nurse who received New Jersey's first COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 15, 2020.
As of Friday afternoon's dashboard update, 4,748,031 eligible New Jerseyans have been fully vaccinated. Statewide rate of transmission was at 0.91, indicative of a continued deceleration of virus spread, and 312 people were hospitalized with confirmed or probable COVID-19 cases.
New Jersey has registered 1,020,830 confirmed or probable COVID cases since March 2020, with 26,368 confirmed or probable deaths, according to the state's data.