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Line for COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility in New Jersey Expands on April 5

New Jersey continues to expand the eligibility of those receiving the COVID-19 vaccine while launching a program with the help of the Federal government to increase vaccinations rates in Newark. 

“Together with our community partners and a steady supply of vaccine from the federal government, we will meet—and exceed—our goal of vaccinating 4.7 million New Jersey adults,” said Gov. Phil Murphy at a press briefing March 29.

Starting April 5, eligibility will increase to among others individuals ages 55-64, individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, higher education educators and staff, and communications and utility infrastructure workers as the states attempts to reach its vaccination goal by the end of May. 

Murphy’s Time

Murphy said he would become eligible for the vaccine on April 5 and plans to get it when his appointment is scheduled. 

“Our Administration has worked closely with communities to build an extensive vaccination infrastructure and has opened over 700 vaccination sites across the state,” said Murphy. “We are already averaging approximately half a million shots per week, and with an expected increase in our Federal allocation, we are confident we can expand our vaccination program to more of our essential workers and vulnerable populations.”

The expansion comes as New Jersey increased vaccine eligibility for the second time this month on March 29. The new cohort of workers who can schedule a shot in New Jersey include food production, agriculture, and food distribution; eldercare and support; warehousing and logistics; social services support staff; elections personnel; hospitality; medical supply chain; postal and shipping services; clergy; and judicial system.

April 5 Eligibility

The complete list of those newly eligible starting the first Monday in April are:

  • Individuals ages 55-64;
  • Individuals ages 16 and up with intellectual and developmental disabilities;
  • Educators, including support staff, in higher education settings;
  • Communications infrastructure support, including engineers, and technicians, and members of the press;
  • Real estate, building, and home service workers, including construction workers, code officials, plumbers, electricians, HVAC technicians, property management, and maintenance workers;
  • Retail financial institution workers, including bank tellers, lending services, public accounting, and check-cashing workers;
  • Sanitation workers providing disinfection and janitorial services, city sanitation workers; residential, commercial, and industrial solid and hazardous waste removal workers;
  • Laundry service workers, including those working in laundromats, laundry services, and dry cleaners;
  • Utility workers including, electrical generation and supply system, natural gas delivery, nuclear power plant, water supply, telephone, cable/fiber/optical/broadband/cellular service workers; and,
  • Librarians and support staff at municipal, county, and state libraries.

“New Jersey’s phased vaccine rollout continues to prioritize preventing severe illness and death and supporting essential societal functioning,” said New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “With the anticipated increased supply of vaccine, more New Jersey residents will have the opportunity to be protected against COVID-19.”

Newark Vaccine Center

The eligibility expansion coincided with the announcement of the state partnering with the Biden Administration’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Community Vaccination Center pilot located at the Naimoli Family Athletic and Recreational Facility at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark. 

“As we’ve seen the detriment that COVID-19 has caused on our community and beyond, it’s extremely important for any of our residents to have access to the vaccine if they are ready to get one,” said Newark Mayor Ras Baraka in a press statement. “This is our best scientific means for protection against COVID.”

When fully operational, the Community Vaccination Center will have the capacity to vaccinate 6,000 individuals per day, seven days per week. Vaccines will be provided directly from the federal government, above and beyond the state’s regular allocations. The center is expected to be open for at least eight weeks.

Vaccine Equity

“This is great news for Essex County (as it) had one of the highest COVID-19 infection and death rates in the country,” said Rep. Donald M. Payne, Jr. “The county needs this center to increase vaccination rates, protect residents, and reopen schools safely. I have been working with the White House, FEMA, and Governor Murphy to get more vaccines to Essex County. I am glad to hear help is on the way.” 

Murphy Administration officials have placed an emphasis on ensuring vaccine equity, especially for communities of color, as it attempts to reach deeper into communities with higher risks of virus exposure and infection.

“The state’s vaccination program has been guided throughout by equity, and we are working hard to make vaccines available in areas that have been impacted the hardest by the virus,” stated Persichilli.

Vaccine Distribution

The number of COVID-19 vaccines administered in New Jersey totaled 4,030,061 as of March 29. Of those who have received the vaccine, 2,638,138 residents have received their first dose with 1,473,410 receiving their second dose or the one jab Johnson & Johnson dose; 50% have been administered the Pfizer vaccine, 48% the Moderna vaccine and 2% the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 

Demographically, 57% of those vaccinated are women and 43% men. As for ethnicity, 59% are White, 11% other, 10% unknown, 8% Asian, 7% Hispanic and 5% Black. In regards to age of those having received the vaccine, 40% are 65 years old or olders, 28% are between the ages of 50-64, 24% are between the ages of 40-49, and 8% are between the ages of 18-29.  

In North Jersey, Bergen County has delivered 460,268 doses, Essex 306,559 doses, Morris 300,208 doses, Hudson 206,993 doses, Passaic 180,754 doses, Sussex 63,655 doses, and Warren 40,522 doses. 

Daily Data

As of March 29, the cumulative number of confirmed coronavirus cases in New Jersey was 792,616 with 3,174 total new PCR cases reported. There were 660 probable cases, bringing the cumulative total of antigen tests to 107,657. The total number of individual cases for the state is 900,273. 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 16 new deaths, bringing that total to 21,869. The state listed probable deaths at 2,535, bringing the overall total to 24,404. State officials noted 24 deaths occurred in the last 24 hours of reporting that have not yet been lab confirmed.  

For North Jersey counties on March 29, Bergen had a total of 307 new confirmed cases and 83 probable cases, Essex 336 new cases and 51 probable cases, Hudson 269 new cases and 67 probable cases, Morris 160 new cases and 39 probable cases, Passaic 145 new cases and 41 probable cases, Sussex 56 new cases and 14 probable cases, and Warren 37 cases and one new probable cases.

There are a total of 575 coronavirus variants being reported in the Garden State. State officials documented 525 cases of the U.K. variant, eight cases of the California variants, eight cases of the Brazilian P1 variant, and one case of the South African variant. Additionally, there are 80 cases of the New York variant, considered “of interest” by the CDC.

Of the total confirmed deaths in North Jersey, Essex County has the most with 2,495, followed by Bergen at 2,435, Hudson with 1,903, Passaic at 1,591, Morris at 930, Sussex at 217 and Warren County at 201.

In regards to probable deaths reported March 24, Bergen has 288, Essex has 284, Morris has 240, Hudson has 199, Passaic has 191, Sussex has 66 and Warren has 25.

State Testing 

As for the rate of transmission, it remained at 1.10 for the fifth day in a row. The daily rate of infections from those tested as of March 25, was 9.4%; by region, the rate was 9.9% in the North, 9.2% in the Central region and 9.5% in the South. 

Officials reported 2,255 patients were hospitalized; 2,089 cases were confirmed and 166 are under investigation. By region, there were 1,073 in the North, 695 in the Central and 398 in the South.

Of those hospitalized, 491 are in intensive care units and 240 on ventilators. A total of 235 patients were discharged, while 276 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 79,283, followed by Middlesex at 76,371, Essex at 76,336, Hudson at 71,542, Monmouth at 60,319, Ocean at 59,264, Passaic at 57,661, Union at 54,302, Camden at 42,959, Morris at 37,516, Burlington at 34,116, Mercer at 28,653, Gloucester at 23,222, Atlantic at 22,124, Somerset at 21,446, Cumberland at 13,114, Sussex at 9,644, Warren at 7,508, Hunterdon at 7,477, Salem at 4,691, and Cape May at 4,102.  

In regards to probable cases, Bergen had the most at 11,093, followed by Union at 9,297, Ocean at 8,537, Essex at 7,812, Hudson at 7,512, Monmouth at 6,951, Morris at 6,885, Middlesex at 6,278, Passaic at 6,056, Atlantic at 5,882, Camden at 5,441, Burlington at 5,374, Somerset at 4,983, Cape May at 4,065, Gloucester at 3,455, Cumberland at 2,178, Mercer at 1,974, Sussex at 1,685, Warren at 812, Hunterdon at 726 and Salem 482.

Another 966 cases are still under investigation to determine where the person resides.

In regards to cases related to in-school transmissions, a total of 205 outbreaks involving 947 cases have been reported, with 17 new outbreaks accounting for 57 cases in the weekly update on March 24. 

For North Jersey, Bergen County has 45 confirmed outbreaks with 181 cases, Passaic County has 12 confirmed outbreaks with 42 cases, Warren has 11 confirmed outbreaks with 28 cases, Sussex has eight confirmed outbreaks with 24 cases, Morris County has five confirmed outbreaks with 34 cases, Hudson County has four confirmed outbreaks with 21 cases, and Essex County with one confirmed outbreak with 92 cases.

Long-term Care Facilities

Health officials noted 233 long-term care facilities are currently reporting at least one case of COVID-19, accounting for a total of 8,527 of the cases, broken down between 3,914 residents and 4,613 staff. 

Cumulatively, 1,319 long-term care facilities reported a case infecting 32,498 residents and 21,479 staff, for a total of 53,977 cases. 

The state’s official death total will now be reported as those that are lab confirmed, sits at 7,984 on March 29. The facilities are reporting to the state 7,849 residents deaths and 143 staff deaths.

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