Close up image of a caretaker helping older woman walk

New Jersey – Coronavirus vaccinations for long-term care residents and workers in the state started a week later than expected after officials missed a key federal reporting deadline. 

New Jersey’s Department of Health missed the Dec. 7 date that required the state to submit information on all of its registered long-term care facilities in order for the state to begin the federal vaccination program. 

Officials missed that deadline by a day because of the “volume of information that had to be inputted,” according to State Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli. 

“We asked to start on the 21st and they said, no, you will start on the 28th,” Persichilli said during a press conference. 

Following the state’s missed deadline, the interim CEO of the Health Care Association of New Jersey told local media that “nursing home residents and staff are looking forward to the start of this important immunization program, and are coordinating with CVS and Walgreens to maximize success.” 

New Jersey Senate minority leader Tom Kean Jr. (R) called the delay “unbelievable and totally unacceptable.”

“After more than 7,100 lives were lost in New Jersey’s nursing homes and veterans homes, you would think the [Gov. Phil] Murphy (D) administration would waste no effort to ensure that the remaining residents would be vaccinated as quickly as possible,” Kean said. 

“Instead, those vulnerable seniors, our parents and grandparents, will remain at risk even longer over the administration’s failure to file simple paperwork on time,” he added.