As they toured a newly opened coronavirus vaccination “mega site” in South Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy and Senate President Stephen Sweeney again expressed frustration with the federal government’s lag in supplying enough doses. The new Gloucester County site, set up in the college center on the campus of Rowan College of South Jersey in Sewell, could serve more than 2,400 people a day if fully supplied, Murphy said. As of now, staff there are able to vaccinate about 1,000 people per week. The government has been under-delivering expected numbers of doses for weeks, state health officials have said.
“They’re not paying attention,” Sweeney said of President Trump’s administration. “It’s not this administration’s priority, obviously...it’s not this administration’s fault, it’s Washington’s fault.”
Murphy, flanked by state health officials and other South Jersey leaders, spent a few minutes walking through the sprawling site.
Only healthcare workers, residents of long-term care homes, police and firefighters are cleared to receive the vaccination so far, and Murphy applauded as he watched several men and women receive injections. He thanked staff members who were administering the shots. “If you build it, they will come, right?” Murphy said to Sweeney.
Dozens of people were in line outside the center before 10 am Monday.
Since an online portal opened last week where residents can pre-register to receive the shots, more than one million people have signed up, Murphy said. State health officials have said they hope the vaccines will be widely available by April or May. The Gloucester site is one of six “mega sites” expected to be available to the public for shots once they are made available to all residents. Vaccination hours are by appointment for now and will be from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week.
About 300 locations around the state are now set up to administer the shots.
“We know the supplies will increase,” Murphy said in remarks after he toured the site. “When they do, we don’t want to be caught flat-footed.”
Sweeney said he couldn’t wait to get a vaccine. “The state of New Jersey is ready to inoculate our residents, and we need to,” he said.