New Jersey’s Vaccine Rollout


Ava DeLauro

Vaccine rollout in New Jersey began on Dec. 15, 2020 to fight against the infamous coronavirus. There were only a few vaccination sites available and only healthcare workers were eligible for the vaccine. By January 2021, the vaccine became available to millions of more people. As this process began, the distribution system was very disorganized. People eligible for the vaccine spent hours searching dozens of websites to find a vaccine appointment, and many New Jersey residents became frustrated by the system and the difficulty to find an appointment, often driving over an hour for appointment. A few months later, in April 2021, the rollout system in New Jersey has improved, but the same challenges exist. People are still having trouble finding an appointment, and some are spending hours locking in vaccines for themselves, their family, and others who need help. 

As of March 3rd, New Jersey had administered 2,166,452 total vaccinations, including 732,926 second doses. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), NJ received more than 2.5 million vaccine doses from the federal government. They had picked up pace in vaccinating its residents, and there was an increased capacity to give out shots. The state vaccinated more than 77,000 residents in a single day. As of March 25, NJ ranked 16th in the nation for vaccine rollout per 100,000 people according to CDC data. The state ranked 11th with a percentage of people with at least one dose and the state ranked 21st with the percentage of people fully vaccinated.

To increase vaccinations, New Jersey has been trying to establish mobile vaccine sites. Vaccine vehicles like vans and buses have been part of their plan to distribute even more shots in arms and provide better access to sites.

New Jersey Governor Murphy’s goal is to vaccinate 70% of the eligible adult population by July 2021 which is about 4.7 million New Jerseyans. Federal vaccine shipments are slowly increasing. Since the coronavirus first came to New Jersey in March 2020, more than 900,000 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in New Jersey, including at least 24,500 who have died from the virus.

As of April 2021, a total of 5.3 million doses have been given to New Jersey residents. 40% of New Jersey’s population has at least 1 dose which is about 3.5 million people. 24% of New Jersey’s population is fully vaccinated which is about 2.2 million people. 

New Jersey residents can receive either the Pfizer vaccine,  Moderna vaccine, or the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Pfizer and Moderna are both two-shot vaccines and New Jersey began to administer both of these vaccines in December 2020. The Johnson & Johnson is a single-shot vaccine and New Jersey began administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in March 2021. Currently, there are at least 644 locations across New Jersey administering either of the three vaccines. People can get the vaccine at hospitals, community health clinics, public health offices, drugstores, and pharmacies such as CVS or Walgreens. People also have been receiving the vaccine at the county “mega-sites” in Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Gloucester, Middlesex, and Morris County. 

Currently, all healthcare workers, all residents and workers of long-term care and high-risk congregate-care facilities, all first responders, individuals at high risk such as Individuals aged 55 and older, and individuals ages 16-54 with medical conditions, educators, transportation workers, public safety workers, frontline essential workers are eligible for the vaccine. New Jersey along with other states are expanding eligibility for the vaccine. 

On Monday, April 19, 2021, all individuals aged 16 and older will be eligible for vaccination in New Jersey. This would mean that the majority of New Jerseyeans will be eligible for a vaccine. Governor Murphy is encouraging all New Jersey residents to get the vaccine to fight against the coronavirus.