More contagious UK variant of COVID-19 assumed to be already in NJ

Not enough vaccine supplies in state, which can’t count on immediate increase in shipments

The first patient in a New Jersey nursing home to get vaccinated against COVID-19, 103-year-old Mildred Clements, received her second dose of vaccine on Monday. But with the federal government admitting that its strategic reserve of vaccines is seriously depleted, the state can’t count on larger vaccine shipments over the next several weeks. Instead, it will expect to receive a weekly allotment of 100,000 doses.

That crimp in the pipeline has created a statewide bottleneck in vaccination appointments  just as more contagious strains of the virus emerge. State health officials assume the so-called UK variant of the virus is already in New Jersey, although it has not yet been positively identified here.  That variant, although not more lethal than the current strain, is far more contagious.