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

New Jersey begins vaccinating health care workers

State’s first COVID-19 inoculations delivered at University Hospital

By Nikita Biryukov, December 15 2020 9:11 am

After more than nine months of being locked into a fight with the pandemic, New Jersey delivered its first COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday.

“This is a day that we have been waiting nearly a year for, and while we know this isn’t the end, we are witnessing, at the least, a glimmer of hope at the end of the tunnel,” Murphy said. “Without question, we are still in for several hard months and we are going to face stiff headwinds from this second wave, but now our heroic frontline health care workers can begin to take care of their fellow New Jerseyans with a higher degree of confidence in their own protection.”

The state began to vaccinate its health care workers against COVID-19 Tuesday, beginning with health professionals in Newark’s University Hospital.

Maritza Beniquez, a resident nurse at University Hospital’s emergency department, was the first to receive a vaccine.

The vaccines are the first wave of the 76,050 New Jersey is set to receive and administer in the first tranche, with the first doses going to individuals working in health care.

“We know that our health care workers’ adoption of this vaccine will be key to convince community members to vaccinate later,” University Hospital President and CEO Shereef Elnahal said. “Our health care heroes have been, and continue to be, trusted voices for health care in our community, and we hope that they will carry the message that these vaccines are safe and effective. Widespread vaccination is the most effective step to helping life return to a new normal, and we applaud those members of our workforce for being the first to roll up their sleeves.”

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