By Associated Press - Wednesday, February 17, 2021

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - Winter storms hitting the country and one expected to dump snow and sleet on New Jersey could delay COVID-19 vaccine shipments, the state’s top health official said Wednesday.

Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said during a news conference in Trenton that vaccination sites across the state are using vaccine inventory they already have to make sure appointments are kept. She said all sites must plan to reschedule vaccinations if they don’t have enough of the vaccine and they should come up with a contingency plan.

Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy said residents should check in with the appointment site as well as

New Jersey so far has administered 1,058,573 first doses of the vaccine and 412,118 of the second. About 4.6% of the state’s population has been fully vaccinated. That’s just behind the 4.7% rate nationally, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Murphy also said Wednesday that if it weren’t for the new variants of the coronavirus, the state would be planning “much more fulsome” opening of the state’s economy over the next few weeks.

He cited falling hospitalization numbers as a key indicator, but also raised concerns that the variants are transmissible.

New Jersey is expected to get hit with a winter storm Thursday through Friday that could affect Thursday’s commute, the governor said. The northern part of the state is expected to get snow, with a “wintry mix” in the south, State Police Superintendent Pat Callahan said.

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