UNION TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — There were two big announcements Friday from New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy about the COVID vaccine as the state’s COVID cases trend upward.

As CBS2’s Meg Baker reports, eligibility is expanding. Beginning April 5, people age 55 and older can sign up to receive the vaccine. Others were added into the priority list, and greater supply is on the way.

READ MORE: COVID Vaccine In New Jersey: Rutgers University Announces Vaccinations Will Be Required For Students Returning To Campus In Fall

Murphy toured the Union County vaccination site with other state leaders as childcare workers received vaccinations.

WATCH: Gov. Murphy Visits COVID Vaccination Site In Union County, N.J. 

“These providers have been on the frontlines all year, supporting families and our workforce as a whole,” Murphy said.

The state will now expand eligibility to those 55 and older beginning April 5, and for those 16 and older with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and for more frontline essential workers.

“Our workers in the retail financial sector… workers at laundromats and dry cleaning businesses… including construction workers, code officials, plumbers, electricians, HVAC technicians, and property management and maintenance workers,” Murphy said.

Librarians, higher education staff, it and communications, public utility and sanitation workers – all eligible.

Murphy says the state was able to open things up as a 20% increase in doses from the federal government is expected next week. The state is also getting a major boost – a massive FEMA vaccination site.

READ MORE: COVID In New Jersey: With Hospitalizations On The Rise, Third Wave Fears Are Growing Among Medical Experts

COVID VACCINE

“FEMA will be setting up a federally run pilot community vaccination center at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark beginning Monday morning,” Murphy said Friday morning. “This site will be staffed and stocked to administer — when it’s fully up and running – 6,000 doses a day, seven days a week, and will focus on ensuring vaccine equity and reaching deep into communities with higher risks of virus exposure and infection.

“These 42,000 weekly doses will be above and beyond our state allocation,” he added.

This news comes as COVID cases tick back up, signaling a possible third wave.

“Sign up, get a vaccine. It’s how we get through this crisis together,” said St. Sen. Joe Cryan.

So why are numbers going up as more and more people get vaccinated? Health experts say new variants, lax safety protocols due to pandemic fatigue, and travel are all at play.

The governor said the new measures will speed up the process toward herd immunity, and everyone will become eligible to sign up for a vaccine May 1.

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CBS2’s Meg Baker contributed to this report.

CBSNewYork Team