TRENTON, NJ – New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy on Friday defended his decision to allow smokers to get the COVID-19 vaccine in the early second round of vaccinations. Murphy said news reports about him putting smokers to the front of the line by the liberal media were false headlines aimed to sensationalize a very serious issue. Headlines accused the governor of putting smokers before front line workers, which, even Shore News Network has found to be false.
Some of those sensationalist reports came from outlets like NBC, the New York Times, Patch, CNN and others. As they say in D.C., fake news is gonna fake news. If you’re interested in our coverage, here it is. SNN was one of the few outlets that didn’t put a political spin on the announcement or make the claim that smokers were pushed to the front of the line above others.
“I have to push back on a false narrative that is out there in some circles that we are vaccinating smokers while we’re not vaccinating another group, whether it be our blessing heroic educators or other incredibly important and heroic essential workers. This is mixing up apples and oranges for the sake of a quick headline, frankly, or taking a cheap shot,” Murphy said. “First of all, we’ve got to remember that at the current time we have a limited supply, as I mentioned a minute ago, of vaccines from the federal government, roughly 100,000 additional doses coming in per week. So our first priority must be to vaccinate those at higher risk due to age or other health factors that put them in a greater vulnerability for severe COVID. We cannot lose sight of a critical medical fact that this is a respiratory virus. Our goal from day one has been to fight to save every life possible and make our decisions based on the facts, on the science, on the medicine. It is a simple fact, whether we like it or not, that smoking like other chronic and medical conditions puts someone at a higher risk of a more severe case of COVID.”
Murphy said he is following CDC guidance on vaccine distribution.
“In this, we are in agreement with the CDC guidance. Let’s be clear. In our new eligibility, we are vaccinating educators, transit workers, grocery store workers, and many other frontline workers, whether it is because they’re also perhaps a volunteer firefighter, or that they have a high risk medical condition that qualifies them for immediate vaccination, and that includes smoking,” he said. “I get it, I understand the optics here and that attacking folks who took up the habit of smoking and who are now addicted may be politically expedient but at this time, we are stuck in a position where we have to prioritize a limited federal produced — or at least distributed — vaccine doses based on medical fact, and not on political want. We need to save lives and we need to protect our hospitals, by the way, from a patient surge.”