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Gov. Phil Murphy speaks at University Hospital in Newark on June 18, 2021. (Photo: YouTube/NJ Globe)

Murphy says N.J. met 4.7 million vaccination goal two weeks early

Ciattarelli smacks governor for taking a ‘victory lap’

By David Wildstein, June 18 2021 12:39 pm

Gov. Phil Murphy announced today that 4,748,031 New Jerseyans have been fulling vaccinated, something he says puts the state nearly two weeks ahead of the 4.7 million goal he set six months ago.

“That was not only an extremely aggressive goal for ourselves but it was one of the most aggressive goals in the country and we knew it,” Murphy said.  “Just do the math: it requires you to average tens of thousands of shots in the arms a day, every day.  It would require us to think big and think creatively.

But his opponent in this year’s gubernatorial campaign, Republican Jack Ciattarelli, took issue with Murphy’s mission accomplished statement.

“Putting COVID behind us and opening up our economy is good news for New Jerseyans,” Ciattarelli said.  “But Governor Murphy’s victory lap is offensive to the 8,000 seniors and veterans who died in our nursing homes because of his policies, offensive to the children who lost more than a year of in-person learning in our schools, and offensive to the one-third of all small businesses who were closed forever during his unscientific and prolonged lockdowns.”

Murphy praised Commissioner of Heath Judy Persichilli for her role in the vaccination roll out and announced that Senate President Steve Sweeny and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin will introduce legislation to name the new state Department of Heath building after Persichilli.

“Each and every day throughout this pandemic, Judy has remained singularly engaged to save lives and protect public health,” Murphy said.  “Our success in crushing the curves and meeting our goals is rooted in her leadership.”

Ciattarelli said the credit for vaccinations belongs to county officials who delivered the program and not Murphy.

“His state-run vaccination rollout prioritized inmates over teachers and smokers over seniors and had to be saved by county governments across the state,” Ciattarelli said.  “He should be letting them take the bow, not himself.”

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