Thursday morning, sites across New Jersey, including the Morris County Regional Vaccination Center at the Rockaway Townsquare Mall, began administering the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to these age groups. Anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Walk-ups are accepted 8:00am - 3:00pm. Appointments can also be made. Learn more at the Morris County website.
On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also updated its guidance saying that if individuals are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, they can resume activities without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart from another person. The CDC considers someone fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or two weeks following the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The CDC made this announcement based on the scientific data on the performance of the COVID-19 vaccines, the CDC’s growing understanding of the low risk of fully vaccinated individuals transmitting the virus, universal access to vaccines to those 12 and older, and vaccine efficacy against certain variants.
A recent study from researchers in Israel, which CDC Director Dr. Walensky referenced during her announcement on Thursday, estimated that the Pfizer vaccine was over 95% effective at preventing symptomatic infection and over 80% effective at preventing asymptomatic infection among healthcare workers. Another study that was released yesterday by the CDC looked at healthcare workers in 25 states and reported that the mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) were 94% effective at reducing the chances of getting sick.
In response to this information, some states have lifted mask mandates. On Friday, Governor Murphy announced that NJ will keep the indoor mask mandate in place in public settings, for the time being. The Governor also said that vaccinated people don’t need to wear masks at small private gatherings and that vaccinated people don’t need to wear masks outdoors.
As a reminder - on Wednesday, May 19th, many of the capacity and gathering restrictions that have been in place for the past year will be lifted and replaced with requirements for social distancing.