New Jersey was sending 2,000 doses of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine to Paterson every week. It will send just 700 next week, a 65 percent reduction, according to municipal officials.
“Sadly, I have to report next week we’re going to get fewer doses,” said mayor Andre Sayegh at a press conference on Wednesday morning.
Sayegh said the city has been scaling up, now it has to scale down.
Paterson has been running a no-frills, low-tech vaccination site out of International High School that has been successful in quickly vaccinating both residents and out-of-towners, hundreds of whom flock the city to get their vaccines. It has done this by doing away with appointments and other processes that slowdown vaccination and frustrate people.
State health officials told Sayegh and others in a call earlier in the week that Passaic County, which has more than 500,000 residents, will receive just 2,500 vaccine doses next week.
New Jersey has received 898,500 Covid-19 vaccines. It has administered 432,200 doses, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These figures suggest New Jersey is sitting on half of the doses it has received. However, governor Phil Murphy on Wednesday evening said “the numbers are deceiving.”
Murphy said the yet-to-be-used doses are with CVS and Walgreens during an interview on “The News With Shepard Smith.” He blasted the federal government for allocating those doses to the two pharmacies. He also blasted CVS and Walgreens for their slow pace of vaccination at long-term care facilities.
“They’re punching under their weight,” said Murphy of the pharmacies. “You can’t find many doses in hospitals or other distribution points that we control directly.”
Paterson ran out of vaccines twice last week. Sayegh scaled back vaccination to two days a week. His scaling back made no difference since the center had to be closed every time it ran out of doses.
An updated schedule showed vaccination occurring three days a week. Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Friday is Paterson residents only day, according to the revised schedule.
Sayegh tried to lobby the Murphy administration for more vaccines, but his efforts were unsuccessful. Instead on Wednesday morning, Sayegh appealed to president Joe Biden. He wanted the new president to expand production and distribution of the vaccines.
“Give us the vaccines, and we’ll finish the job,” said Sayegh.
Biden has a goal to vaccinate 100 million people in 100 days. Experts have said the U.S. will need to vaccinate 3 million people per day to put the pandemic behind it by July.
Biden intends to invoke the Defense Production Act to boost production of the vaccines.
“We still have been let down by the feds. The big challenge is to get more production out of the feds,” said Murphy.
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