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Gov. Phil Murphy. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

COVID vaccine recipients must opt out, not in, of immunization registry

By Nikita Biryukov, December 04 2020 2:34 pm

New Jerseyans who don’t want their COVID-19 vaccinations noted in the state’s immunization registry will have to opt out of the system under an executive order Gov. Phil Murphy announced Friday.

“This means that if you wish to be vaccinated against COVID-19 — and believe me, if we tell you it’s safe, we want you to do that — you don’t have to first opt-in to the system to make sure your two-dose regiment is properly tracked and managed,” Murphy said at the day’s virus briefing.

The order does not mandate anyone receive the vaccine, it only shifts how voters choose whether their vaccination data enters the New Jersey Immunization Information System.

“Let me be perfectly clear: This order does not force anyone to receive the vaccine, although we are going to be strongly recommending it assuming we put out good-housekeeping stamp of approval on it, and you should assume that we will,” the governor said.

The system typically operates on an opt-in basis, though those born in 1998 or later are automatically enrolled.

The governor issued the order to simplify administration of COVID-19 vaccines, particularly the two-dose Pfizer vaccine expected to roll out in the coming weeks.

“We’re doing this for a simple reason: to ensure that those who choose to receive a vaccine get the most effective course in the most streamlined manner possible on the proper timetable and without logistical or bureaucratic hurdles in the way,” he said.

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