During his Monday afternoon media briefing on the coronavirus, Governor Phil Murphy announced that more and more groups of individuals will soon be on the COVID vaccine eligibility list. Just hours after announcing that New Jersey teachers will soon be able to get their shots, Murphy added that tribal communities, day care workers, public transit employees and those experiencing homelessness will soon be able to register for a vaccine appointment. Judges, members of the clergy and food service workers will be eligible at the end of March.
The Governor also said that more than 70,000 doses of the newly approved, Johnson and Johnson vaccine will be available in New Jersey by weeks’ end. CVS and Rite Aid will be allocated 22,500 doses from J&J through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program.
Beginning March 15, the following groups will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine:
- Educators, including support staff, in pre-K through 12th grade settings
- Childcare workers in licensed and registered settings
- Public and local transportation workers, including bus, taxi, rideshare, and airport employees; NJ TRANSIT workers; and Motor Vehicle Commission staff
- Public safety workers who are not sworn law enforcement or fire professionals, including probation officers and fire safety inspectors
- Migrant farm workers
- Members of tribal communities
- Individuals experiencing homelessness and those living in shelters, including domestic violence shelters
With regard to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the Governor stated, “The importance of having a third highly effective vaccine in our toolkit, especially one that requires only one dose and that can be stored in regular refrigeration, cannot be overstated. This is a game-changer to get more shots in arms as with everything else we just need the supply.”
The Governor also announced that a whole other grouping of New Jerseyans will become eligible to get vaccinated beginning on March 29. These include front-line essential workers in the following categories:
- Food production, agriculture and food distribution (including grocery store and restaurant workers)
- Eldercare and support
- Warehousing and logistics
- Social services support staff
- Elections personnel
- Medical supply chain
- Postal and shipping services
- Judicial system
An important reminder, however, was issued by New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli, who said that, although additional vaccines are expected, not everyone who is eligible may be able to register right away.
“Despite the additional vaccines coming to the state, we are still in a time of scarce vaccine supply,” Persichilli said. “Not everyone will be able to book an appointment immediately upon becoming categorically eligible. As we continue to move forward, equity will still be in front of our minds. We will continue to provide avenues for communities at a significant disadvantage to accessing the vaccine, primarily our communities of color and residents over the age of 75.”
Over the weekend, Hudson County officials announced that residents aged 75 and older were being giver priority this week at the County-run vaccination site in Kearny to receive their inoculations.
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