PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The COVID variant from the U.K. is now spreading in the Philadelphia region, and it’s been deadly for one person in New Jersey. This puts renewed interest on the vaccine and local officials are eager for the increased supplies being pledged by President Joe Biden’s administration.

Vaccine supplies to states will increase by 16%. Local officials say they can’t arrive soon enough. There’s increased urgency for the vaccine because the COVID variant that’s spreading is more contagious.

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An unidentified 30-year-old bartender was the first in Montgomery County to be diagnosed in mid-January with the U.K. COVID variant.

“The individual worked a double shift the day prior to the start of the symptoms,” Montgomery County Commissioner Dr. Val Arkoosh said. “The individual has no travel history. It is quite likely that this more contagious U.K. variant is here in Montgomery County.”

Arkoosh says the bartender had classic symptoms and that several other people who worked at the bar and restaurant tested positive in November.

The variant is also spreading in New Jersey, where there are now eight confirmed cases and the first death linked to the mutation.

“That individual did have significant underlying conditions,” Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said.

During the Wednesday briefings, New Jersey and Montgomery County officials applauded the increase in vaccine supplies coming from the Biden administration.

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“We, like every other state, need greatly increased vaccine production and delivery,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said.

“The increase in doses is welcome news,” Arkoosh said. “My understanding is that those doses probably won’t be available until late spring or early summer, but as soon as we can get any portion of those doses, we are more than ready to start giving that vaccine.”

There are growing complaints about people getting the vaccine who aren’t eligible. In Delaware, firefighters at the Christiana Fire Company have been told their second dose of vaccine has been delayed because of limited supplies.

Evidence has shown that the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine provides protection up to 80%. Health officials in New Jersey say there is no loss of efficacy as long as that second dose is given within six weeks of the first.


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