Governor Murphy says New Jersey skipped in Biden vaccine boost to underserved communities

TRENTON, NJ – With much fanfare, President Joe Biden announced a plan to fast-track vaccine deployment to America’s underserved communities.  Communities such as Trenton, Camden, Newark, Asbury Park, Paterson, and others had hope that New Jersey’s vaccine backlog would put an end to the current vaccine deserts across the state.

The Biden administration doesn’t see any communities in New Jersey as being underserved enough for the first round of increased vaccine distribution.

On Tuesday, Governor Phil Murphy announced, New Jersey was not included in the Biden’ administration’s “FQHC” vaccine program.

“Additionally, the Biden administration announced yesterday that it’ll be providing an additional vaccine supply directly to targeted community health centers or FQHCs as they’re known, federally qualified health centers,” Murphy said.  “While no New Jersey centers were selected for the first phase of this federal program, our community health centers are already vaccinating residents they serve.”

Murphy hopes the Biden Administration will soon include New Jersey in its plans to vaccinate 100 million people in 100 days.

“These health centers provide care for underserved communities, communities which have been hit hard by COVID. And when we are selected, which we anticipate being soon, this direct increase to our FQHCs will be an important tool for us as we continue to work to ensure equity in the distribution and administration of our vaccine program,” Murphy said. “As Sheila Oliver reminded us last night, Judy, The other advantage of the FQHC is it’s an all-encompassing health center. It’s not just a one-off vaccination pod. You go there for the whole gamut of family health needs.”

The President announced the launch of the Federally Qualified Health Center program that will provide more vaccines for Community Health Centers that are reaching our underserved and most vulnerable communities. And, the administration will increase the vaccine supply to states, Tribes, and territories by 5% over last week, for a total of a 28% increase since President Biden came into office three weeks ago.

Starting the week of February 15, Federally Qualified Community Health Centers (FQHCs) will begin directly receiving vaccine supply.

Many people know these as Community Health Centers. Community Health Centers provide primary care services in underserved communities across the country.

There are more than 1,300 Community Health Centers serving almost 30 million people across the country. Two-thirds of the population that these centers serve are living at or below the federal poverty line and 60% are racial and/or ethnic minorities. The program will be phased in, with the first centers able to start ordering vaccines as early as the week of February 15. The initial phase will include at least one Community Health Center in each state, expanding to 250 centers in the coming weeks.