N.J. coronavirus update: Second-dose confusion addressed; teachers ‘on deck’ for the shot

A woman holds a vial of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine

A woman holds a vial of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in the gymnasium of International High School in Paterson, New Jersey, on Wednesday, January 20, 2021. (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey)

Ask us about COVID-19: What questions do you have about the current surge?

New Jersey reported another 3,950 positive PCR tests for coronavirus, reaching a cumulative total of 606,492 positive PCR tests. It also recorded another 1,080 positive antigen tests, bringing the state’s total to 70,045 positive antigen tests.

The positivity rate for PCR tests taken on Saturday was 12.62%. New Jersey’s rate of transmission was 0.91.

There were 3,190 coronavirus patients in the hospital as of Tuesday night, including 578 in critical care and 406 requiring ventilators. 416 live patients were discharged.

Another 107 died from complications of coronavirus. There have now been 19,091 confirmed COVID-19 fatalities and another 2,129 probable deaths.

How to get your second-dose appointment

Some New Jersey residents, workers, and students who got their first shot of the coronavirus vaccine are struggling to figure out how to get their second. State officials on Wednesday tried to clear up some of the confusion.

People who got their first shot of the vaccine through an appointment scheduled on the state’s website will automatically get an email this weekend with a date and time for their second-dose appointment.

Those who got their first dose at the Gloucester County mega-site before it began using the state’s scheduling system should hear from that site directly to schedule their follow-up appointment.

Officials recommend that people who booked their first-dose appointment directly with the facility where they received their shot should reach back out to that site to schedule the appointment for their second dose.

“If by the end of the weekend — so, a few days from now — you are still not certain how you will get your second-dose appointment,” Gov. Phil Murphy said, “contact our vaccination call center and our operators will assist you with scheduling one.”

The phone number for New Jersey’s coronavirus vaccine hotline is 855-568-0545.

Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said that scheduling the second-dose appointment during the first-dose visit is the best practice going forward.

“We are reinforcing with all sites that they should be making second appointments when the individual receives the first dose,” she said.

Murphy: Teachers are ‘on deck’ for the vaccine

Gov. Murphy still didn’t say when educators would be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine but indicated Wednesday that they would be among the next groups to get the shot.

“Listen, I hope educators [are eligible] sooner than later. That’s all I can say. They rightfully are on deck,” he said.

In some districts, teachers’ unions have pushed back against plans to return to in-school learning before educators were vaccinated.

Murphy again blamed the vaccine scarcity on a low supply of doses from the federal government but praised the Biden administration for vowing to increase shipments.

Those currently eligible for the vaccine in New Jersey are frontline health care workers, long-term care facility staff and residents, police and firefighters, the elderly, and those with certain chronic medical conditions.

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