By CBS3 Staff

TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) — New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy says he “can sense the end in real time” of the COVID-19 pandemic as the Garden State is gearing up for its vaccine distribution plan. A Food and Drug Administration panel endorsed Pfizer’s vaccine for emergency use on Thursday.

The governor says they are anxiously awaiting the final vote from the FDA for the vaccine’s approval.

“We anticipate the first shipments of this vaccine beginning to arrive in the next few days and we will immediately be ready to put our vaccine plan in place, starting with our frontline health care workers,” Murphy said.

Murphy struck an optimistic tone during Friday’s press conference with the vaccine on the horizon.

“No one can dampen the real sense that we are now in the opening scenes of the end of this pandemic,” Murphy said. “It’s not going to be overnight, it won’t be a light switch, but we can finally begin to sense the end in real time.”

Despite the optimism, Murphy still warned that work needs to be done to stem the surge of coronavirus cases. The state’s moderate impact models show a significant increase of COVID cases if New Jerseyans don’t do their part to stop the spread.

“We have to protect our health care system,” Murphy said.

More than 3,800 new cases were reported Friday, bringing the statewide total to 390,256, and more than 3,500 people are hospitalized across the state.

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