NEWARK, NJ – Governor Phil Murphy visited a COVID-19 vaccination site in Newark on Tuesday to highlight the expansion of New Jersey vaccination eligibility and encourage color communities to sign up for the vital recordings.

“Congratulations! How are you feeling?” Murphy told Leslie Wiliams, an Orange School District food service worker, who first received the first shot of the two-dose Moderna vaccine at Donald M. Payne, Sr. School of Technology.

“I feel ok. I’m relieved now,” Williams said. “I have to be with my grandchildren, and I have another one on the way. I want to be there for them.”

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Murphy’s visit to the vaccination site came a day after the state expanded the groups of people eligible for the vaccine, including public and local transport workers such as bus and taxi drivers, airport workers, NJ Transit workers, and homeless people Homeless shelters or shelters for domestic violence.

Teachers in New Jersey were originally supposed to be on vacation on March 15, but became eligible earlier this month after President Joe Biden said teachers, school staff and childcare workers could be vaccinated immediately.

Murphy noted that New Jersey plans to mirror the Biden government mandates in the future.

“President Biden knew that by May 1, anyone in America who wants to sign up for a vaccination appointment will be able to do so, and I expect we can do that in New Jersey,” said Murphy said. “We need more supplies from the federal government, that’s the biggest challenge we’ve had. We expanded our sales network ahead of the offering and based on what we hear from the government, it will soon expand. And when it does, we have the system in place to ensure that anyone who wants the vaccine can get it. ”

Murphy acknowledged that many people in color communities have raised concerns about getting the vaccine. Some black Americans have persistent distrust of the medical system, according to Tuskegee’s infamous 20th century medical study that involved black men.

But Murphy, the governor of a state with more than 23,000 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths, 840,000 confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases, and more than 3 million first and second vaccine doses, expressed his commitment to address any racial justice gap Regarding vaccine access and addressing other color community concerns.

“Johnson & Johnson’s regular one-dose vaccine is a particular benefit when it comes to getting into hard-to-reach places, including for disadvantaged communities,” Murphy said. “Role models are important, and we have placed great emphasis on getting color community leaders to step up and get the vaccine. It is our job to overcome any skepticism. ”

Andre Cooper, a cabin cleaner and security specialist at Newark Liberty International Airport, had some early concerns about the vaccine but still rolled up his sleeve when the opportunity arose.

“I feel safer now when I go out of the house to the supermarket. This is a very scary disease that we’ve all been concerned with, ”said Cooper, an East Orange resident who has two children. “I’m grateful that I got the shot. Better be on the safe side and have peace of mind. “

Shortly after vaccinating several residents, licensed nurse Ekinadose Lebarty pointed out the need for normalcy to be a driving force in all communities as New Jersey continues to battle the pandemic.

“People just want human contact again,” Lebarty said as she prepared to give more vaccines. “This is the first step in embracing their families again.”