New jersey State Senator Kristin Corrado says Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center sites in New Jersey have not received COVID-19 vaccines from the Department of Health and have been unable to vaccinate patients.
“The Murphy Administration’s abysmal COVID-19 vaccine rollout is now putting prisoners ahead of cancer patients,” said Corrado (R-40). “First, in December, the administration missed a federal deadline that delayed the beginning of vaccinations in our nursing homes. Then, in January, we learned that the vaccine was being offered to all New Jersey state prisoners ahead of long-term care residents. And now, in February, we are finding out that many cancer patients have been unable to receive the vaccine, particularly at Memorial Sloan Kettering—the most prominent cancer treatment center in the United States.”
Corrado’s office has heard from numerous constituents who worry that their loved ones undergoing treatment for cancer are being left behind in the State’s vaccination rollout.
Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) operates three cancer centers in the Garden State, including sites in Basking Ridge, Montvale, and Middletown. According to a statement from MSK, patients who reside in New Jersey, and receive care at an MSK facility in New Jersey, are not eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine due to a lack of supply.
MSK has requested vaccine supply from the New Jersey Department of Health, but to date, the request has not yet been granted.
While cancer patients wait for the Department of Health’s response, the Murphy Administration continues to distribute the vaccine to all state prisons, and as of mid-February, more than 1,750 New Jersey state prison staffers and 1,630 inmates received the vaccine.
“Everyone in New Jersey should have the opportunity to receive the COVID-19 vaccine—including prisoners. There are older inmates, and those with severe preexisting health conditions, that really do need to be vaccinated. However, no individual who is perfectly healthy should be prioritized over a person with cancer,” added Corrado. “It is truly outrageous that Memorial Sloan Kettering is being prevented from distributing the vaccine while, at the same time, state prisons are given thousands of doses with no questions asked. I am calling on the Murphy Administration to end this injustice by putting cancer patients first.”