Jersey City hoping for more COVID-19 vaccine doses after Murphy visits Bethune Center

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Jersey City officials are hoping to receive more COVID-19 vaccine doses in the coming weeks after Gov. Phil Murphy (D) paid a visit to their vaccination site at the Mary McLeod Bethune Life Center this morning.

“First of all, Jersey City is one of the top two most populous cities in our state. This is a life center, the Mary McCleod Life Center: this is a place I love coming to, I’ve been here many times, like I’ve said to folks here, I never thought I’d be here witnessing vaccinations, but that is the case and it serves especially communities of color,” Murphy said.

The governor offered high praise for the site, as he did after touring Hudson County’s Kearny facility last month.

Still, the location reaction was largely the same today as it was then: pleading their case to make a push to have more people vaccinated.

Mayor Steven Fulop told reporters that Jersey City received just 300 doses for the week about a month ago, and while that figure has increased to 700, with the potential to hit a 1,000 next week, they can be doing a lot more.

“We just wanted him to see that there are municipal run sites throughout the state, we’re the first, and that it’s working well, it’s in the community that he spoke about in terms of importance – hard to penetrate – and hopefully him seeing this community center, in an African-American community in Jersey City, will help us get more vaccines ultimately,” the mayor said.

Jersey City have been prioritizing there senior population, ages 65 and up, and Fulop claims that the diversity of the 2,300 people or so who have been vaccinated at the Bethune Center thus far can compete with anyone else in the state.

While the demand remains high, with phones ringing early and often, the supply is lagging behind though Fulop sounds optimistic that will eventually change.

” … If you look at it based on just numbers and you say that Hudson County has been impacted almost more than any other county in New Jersey and you look at the fact that Jersey City is one of the most densely populated communities in the country, it would lead you to the conclusion that we should be getting more than 300, 500, 700 doses [a week].”

Jersey City made a push to begin opening vaccination centers at the end of last year, but that was delayed after a potential vendor “could not meet the standards.”

The city council then approved a new $1 million contract with a different vendor last month.

Additionally, as luck would have it, this will be Murphy’s last in-person appearance for the immediate future after a family members tested positive for COVID-19, his office said this afternoon.

“After careful review, the governor does not qualify as an exposed close contact,” began Murphy’s communications director, Mahen Gunaratna.

“However, out of an abundance of caution and in line with the highest levels of commitment to protecting public health, the governor will be cancelling in-person events and voluntarily quarantining before resuming any in-person engagements.”