Teacher Eligibility for COVID-19 Vaccine Accelerated in New Jersey

Teachers and childcare providers COVID-19 vaccine eligibility was moved up by 10 days in New Jersey. 

Originally scheduled to be eligible on March 15, educators became eligible effectively immediately on March 5 in order to fulfill the mandate made by President Joe Biden, stated Gov. Phil Murphy.

The next day, officials were on hand at Rowan College as the first teachers received their shot at the megasite located on the campus. New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said seeing educators receiving their doses is a critical step of returning to in-person instruction.

Return to Classroom

“When I see the teachers, I think about the kids,” said Persichilli. “They have to get back to school—the social aspects of school and the learning. I am always concerned about these kids being left behind.”

The commissioner added, “We know that remote working is difficult. Remote learning for kids is also difficult. I look at the teachers, and I say, ‘God bless you; we need you. Let’s get back to school. The kids need you’.” 

The move falls in line with  President Biden’s call on March 2 for educators to be vaccinated with his goal of getting at least the first shot to all teachers by the end of March. 

Biden’s Priority

“Over 30 states have already taken the step to prior—prioritize educators for vaccination. And today, I’m using the full authority of the federal government,” the President said. “My challenge to all states, territories, and the District of Columbia is this: We want every educator, school staff member, childcare worker to receive at least one shot by the end of the month of March.”

President Biden added, “To help make this happen (during) the month of March, we will be using our federal pharmacy program to prioritize the vaccination of pre-K through 12 educators and staff and child-care workers. Throughout March, they will be able to prioritize the vaccination of pre-K-through-12 educators and staff and childcare workers.”

March Movement

The move by New Jersey officials comes after the state expanded eligibility for residents for the month of March. Those becoming eligible on March 15 include public and local transportation workers, including bus, taxi, rideshare, and airport employees; NJ Transit workers; New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission staffers; public safety workers who are not sworn law enforcement or fire professionals, such as probation officers and fire safety inspectors; migrant farm workers; tribal communities; and the homeless and those living in shelters, including domestic violence shelters.

Two weeks later, on March 29, a different tranche of frontline essential workers becoming eligible, include food production, agriculture, and food distribution workers; eldercare and support workers; warehousing and logistics workers; social services support staff; elections personnel; hospitality workers; medical supply chain workers; postal and shipping services workers; clergy; and judicial system workers.

Additionally, the state began a program to help seniors unable to schedule an appointment. For all residents ages 75 and over, officials will actively conduct outreach over the phone and schedule appointments to ensure greater direct access. In a corresponding move, the state will increase allocations to mega-sites specifically for these seniors.

Vaccine Distribution

The number of COVID-19 vaccines administered in New Jersey totaled 2,511,731 as of March 8. Of those who have received the vaccine, 1,657,263 residents have received their first dose with 854,001 their second; 53% have been administered the Moderna vaccine and 47% the Pfizer. 

Demographically, 58% of those vaccinated are women and 42% men. As for ethnicity, 58% are White, 13% unknown, 13% other, 7% Asian, 6% Hispanic and 4% Black. In regards to age of those having received the vaccine, 42% are 65 years old or olders, 27% are between the ages of 50-64, 23% are between the ages of 40-49, and 7% are between the ages of 18-29.  

In North Jersey, Bergen County has delivered 287,109 doses, Essex 203,084 doses, Morris 186,448 doses, Hudson 119,607 doses, Passaic 112,822 doses, Sussex 39,363 doses, and Warren 25,312 doses. 

Daily Data

As of March 8, the cumulative number of confirmed coronavirus cases in New Jersey was 722,997 with 2,201 total new PCR cases reported. There were 421 probable cases, bringing the cumulative total of antigen tests to 91,919. The total number of individual cases for the state is 814,916. Gov. Murphy previously noted there is some unknown overlap due to health officials urging those taking a rapid test to get a PCR test.

As for those that have passed, the state reported 20 new deaths, bringing that total to 21,193. The state listed probable deaths at 2,331, bringing the overall total to 23,524. State officials noted 23 deaths occurred in the last 24 hours of reporting that have not yet been lab confirmed.  

For North Jersey counties on March 8, Bergen had a total of 251 new confirmed cases and 43 probable cases, Essex 190 new cases and 23 probable cases, Hudson 177 new cases and 40 probable cases, Morris 148 new cases and 25 probable cases, Passaic 117 new cases and 29 probable cases, Sussex 47 new cases and three probable cases, and Warren 22 cases and no new probable cases.

State officials have identified a total of 136 coronavirus variant cases in 20 counties in New Jersey, including eight in Essex County, seven in Morris County, seven in Hudson, four in Passaic, three in Warren, three in Bergen, and one in Sussex. 

Of the total confirmed deaths in North Jersey, Essex County has the most with 2,431, followed by Bergen at 2,356, Hudson with 1,846, Passaic at 1,531, Morris at 911, Sussex at 211 and Warren County at 198.

In regards to probable deaths reported March 3, Bergen has 284, Essex has 275, Morris has 224, Hudson has 185, Passaic has 179, Sussex has 64 and Warren has 22.

State Testing 

As for the rate of transmission, it remained unchanged at 1.06 for the third straight day. The daily rate of infections from those tested as of March 4, was 7.1%; by region, the rate was 7.0% in the North, 8.0% in the Central region and 5.9% in the South. 

Officials reported 1,786 patients were hospitalized; 1,669 cases were confirmed and 117 are under investigation. By region, there were 927 in the North, 535 in the Central and 324 in the South.

Of those hospitalized, 393 are in intensive care units and 237 on ventilators. A total of 179 patients were discharged, while 175 were admitted.

Officials have continually cited transmission rate, hospilizations, intensive care units, ventilators and positivity rate as health data they rely on to track how the coronavirus is being contained in New Jersey, guiding them in determining when restrictions have to be tightened or lifted.

Bergen Tops County Count

Bergen has the most confirmed cumulative cases in the state with 71,400, followed by Middlesex at 69,501, Essex at 69,386, Hudson at 65,597, Ocean at 53,735, Monmouth at 53,609, Passaic at 53,430, Union at 50,347, Camden at 40,198, Morris at 33,392, Burlington at 31,665, Mercer at 26,756, Gloucester at 21,519, Atlantic at 20,254, Somerset at 19,294, Cumberland at 12,369, Sussex at 8,247, Warren at 6,616, Hunterdon at 6,562, Salem at 4,313, and Cape May at 3,798.  

In regards to probable cases, Bergen had the most at 9,205, followed by Union at 8,125, Ocean at 7,152, Essex at 6,581, Hudson at 6,038, Monmouth at 5,731, Morris at 5,714, Middlesex at 5,282, Atlantic at 5,268, Passaic at 5,054, Camden at 4,875, Burlington at 4,661, Somerset at 4,309, Cape May at 3,656, Gloucester at 3,165, Cumberland at 2,157, Mercer at 1,707, Sussex at 1,267, Warren at 744, Hunterdon at 637, and Salem 461.

Another 1,009 cases are still under investigation to determine where the person resides.

In regards to cases related to in-school transmissions, a total of 160 outbreaks involving 765 cases, with eight new outbreaks accounting for 28 cases reported in the weekly update on March 3. 

For North Jersey, Bergen County has 37 confirmed outbreaks with 155 cases, Passaic County has seven confirmed outbreaks with 32 cases, Sussex has six confirmed outbreaks with 15 cases, Warren has eight confirmed outbreaks with 20 cases, Morris County has four confirmed outbreaks with 32 cases, Hudson County has three confirmed outbreaks with 13 cases, and Essex County with one confirmed outbreak with 92 cases.

Long-term Care Facilities

Health officials noted 290 long-term care facilities are currently reporting at least one case of COVID-19, accounting for a total of 11,360 of the cases, broken down between 5,520 residents and 5,840 staff. 

Cumulatively, 1,275 long-term care facilities reported a case infecting 32,342 residents and 21,165 staff, for a total of 53,507 cases. 

The state’s official death total will now be reported as those that are lab confirmed, sits at 7,933 on March 8. The facilities are reporting to the state 7,829 residents deaths and 144 staff deaths.


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