Credit: (Edwin J. Torres / Governor’s Office; CC BY-NC 2.0)
April 23, 2021: Health Commissioner Judy Persicili (center) and Governor Phil Murphy (right) visit the COVID-19 vaccination site at the ShopRite store.

Editor’s note: NJ Spotlight News celebrates the second anniversary of the arrival of COVID-19 in New Jersey, focusing on how the disease has changed our lives and what life looks like now. Here we look at data on vaccinations against COVID-19 in New Jersey – and markedly low consumption of additional vaccinations. You will find all our stories related to the pandemic here.

Health officials say the best way to return society to a normal and safe life with COVID-19 is to vaccinate against the disease.

While full vaccination is now defined as two doses of mRNA vaccine or one dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine, officials also strongly recommend a booster dose to provide the strongest protection against the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. It is unclear whether additional boosters targeting new variants of the virus will be recommended in the future.

New data is reported by the New Jersey Department of Health shows that people who received the full course of the vaccine plus the revaccinator were the least likely to become infected with COVID-19, and if they did, they would be the least likely to need to be hospitalized or die. Unvaccinated people often get sick, go to the hospital and die. At the height of the omicron wave in January, the death rate in New Jersey for the unvaccinated was over 25 per 100,000, while it was 3.3 per 100,000 for the vaccinated and less than two per 100,000 for the vaccinated. The hospitalization rate was 69 per 100,000 for the unvaccinated, 11 for the vaccinated and 5.4 per 100,000 for the vaccinated.

New Jersey officials have been promoting vaccination since vaccinations became available more than a year ago, including some concentrated efforts to make it easier for people to get vaccinated. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, New Jersey ranks eighth among states in the proportion of residents who are fully vaccinated – just under three-quarters of the population last week. However, the state lags behind in the number of those who received revaccination, ranking 22nd, with only 45% of those who were fully vaccinated also receiving vaccination.

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