New Jersey could begin administering booster shots of the two-dose Pfizer and Modern COVID-19 vaccines on Sept. 20, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday.
The booster push will see New Jersey re-open its vaccine megasites, which closed in June and July as health officials turned more of their attention to localized vaccination efforts.
How many individuals are eligible for the third shot ultimately depends on whether the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention decide whether boosters should be administered six or eight months after a patient receives their second dose of the vaccine.
“If it’s six months, on September 20 immediately 2.4 million people in this state will become eligible for a booster shot,” Murphy said at Monday’s virus briefing.
Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said the initial wave of booster shots should take about four months to administer.
Boosters, long viewed as a liability in the fight to convince vaccine holdouts to become immunized, have increasingly become a focal point for health officials.
Murphy’s announcement comes amid a Delta-variant-fueled resurgence of COVID-19 in the Garden State. For almost all of August, New Jersey reported more than 1,000 cases daily, a stark shift from the roughly 200 daily cases reported for much of July.
It isn’t immediately clear which of the megasites will reopen, but the governor predicted New Jersey would not face the supply issues that plagued the state in the winter and early spring.
“To be clear, we are confident we have both the supply and the distribution capacity to serve everyone,” he said.