The state has launched a new web tool to better connect those eligible for COVID-19 vaccines with available appointments.

A search page has been launched in "beta" form, which means essentially it still is under construction, Gov. Phil Murphy announced on Wednesday at the state pandemic response briefing.

Vaccine site clinics can be viewed by a full list or searched by county with the option of showing only sites with available appointments.

Information presented by the finder tool is "provided by third-party organizations" such as Vaccine Spotter and Twitter accounts like Vaccine Bot NJ (@nj_vaccine) and has not been verified by the state, according to a line that appeared at the bottom during a county by county search.

New Jersey has surpassed a milestone of more than one and a half millions fully vaccinated individuals, with 1.57 million as of Wednesday morning.

The state had seen a total of 4,225,964 vaccine doses administered by 9 a.m., of those 2.65 million first doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.

A federal community vaccination site now operating in Newark at the New Jersey Institute of Technology through Federal Emergency Management Agency is capable of vaccinating 6,000 people a day, Murphy noted, adding that the goal would be exceeded on Wednesday by an additional 2,000 doses.

State health commissioner Judith Persichilli said that hospitalizations were up 28% over the past two weeks, and that a percentage of younger individuals being hospitalized for COVID-19 also has increased.

Comparing data from the first and last weeks of March, there has been a more than 48% increase of hospitalizations among patients between the ages of 40 and 49; and a 31% increase among those 20 to 29, according to Persichilli.

As of Wednesday, COVID-19 vaccine eligibility remained open to adults 65 and older, as well as the various priority groups by high risk conditions and profession.

Starting Monday, the age requirement would add those 55 and older, as well as those 16 and older who have intellectual and/or developmental disabilities.

Murphy said he and his wife will go online Monday, just like everyone else, when they're eligible.

Murphy has previously said that May 1 was the goal for opening vaccine appointments to all adults, based on federal directive.

Next week, 551,320 COVID-19 vaccine shots have been allocated for the state, Persichilli said.

Of those shots, 178,700 would be Moderna doses, another 241,020 would be Pfizer and 131,600 Johnson and Johnson vaccines, branded as Jansen, have been earmarked for the state, she outlined.

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