NJ outlines COVID vaccine distribution plan

The New Jersey COVID vaccine distribution plan as outlined in part by the state health commissioner Monday involves breaking up the population into groups-- Category 1A, Category 1B and Category 1C, followed by the general public.

Healthcare workers such as doctors, nurses, and EMTs makeup Category 1A and have already been receiving the vaccine after it was first administered at University Hospital in Newark earlier this month.

Vaccinations for long-term care facility and nursing home residents and staff- who are also included in Category 1A- began Monday. New Jersey initiated those vaccinations a week later than other states — including Connecticut and New York — because it missed a federal deadline by one day.

Once Category 1A vaccines have been distributed, the state will allow for the vaccination of Category 1B individuals, according to Commissioner Judith Persichilli.  They include first responders like police and firefighters and people 75 years of age and older who are at increased risk for severe illness and death from the virus.

An advisory committee is working through the guidelines for who is essential based on several factors including maximizing benefits and minimizing harm as well as mitigating health inequities, added Persichilli.

New Jersey was allocated more than 405,000 vaccines in December. 120,000 of those vaccines will go to long-term care facilities while 280,000 will be distributed to hospitals and community sites.

According to a release issued by the mayors of two Hudson County towns, Category 1C will cover persons aged 16-64 years old with medical conditions that put them at increased risk for severe COVID-19.

RELATED: NJ nursing nursing home residents, staff begin COVID vaccinations

Lastly, the general public will be vaccinated based on guidance from the NJDOH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

New Jersey reported 2,745 new positive cases Monday with 3,684 patients in hospitals, 715 patients in intensive care units and 505 ventilators in use. 21 people were reported dead from the virus bringing the statewide total to 16,706. The number of probable deaths is 1,945.

"The scale of this pandemic is staggering," said Gov. Phil Murphy.