Uncork the Vaccination! New Jersey Looks At New Ways to Increase COVID-19 Vaccine Rates

New Jersey officials continue to find new incentives to get Garden State residents to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Three new programs were announced May 19 as part of “Operation Jersey Summer”, the statewide public awareness campaign aimed at vaccinating all eligible New Jerseyans. 

The new incentives include a State Parks Vax Pass, providing free access to New Jersey’s 51 state parks and facilities including Island Beach State Park; a free glass of wine at participating New Jersey wineries; and dinner with Gov. Phil Murphy and First Lady Tammy Murphy.

Vaccination Push

“Millions of New Jerseyans have rolled up their sleeves and received a vaccination to protect themselves and their loved ones from COVID-19, but there is still much work to be done in order to reach our goal of 4.7 million fully vaccinated New Jersey adults by June 30,” said Gov. Murphy at a press briefing held at Island State Park. “In partnership with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the Garden State Wine Growers Association, we are giving New Jerseyans more reasons to step up and visit one of our 1,700 vaccination sites to receive a free COVID-19 vaccine.”

Following the partnership with New Jersey brewers with the “Beer and a Shot” program, “Uncork the Vaccination” has the state teaming up with the Garden State Wine Growers Association to offer New Jerseyans ages 21 and over who receive their first COVID-19 vaccination in the month of May can visit one of New Jersey’s participating wineries and receive a free glass of wine.

Wineries Step Up

Participating wineries include Amalthea Cellars, Auburn Road Vineyards, Bellview Winery, DiMatteo Vineyards, Salem Oak Vineyards, Terhune Orchards, Tomasello Winery, Villa Milagro Vineyards in Pohatcong, and White Horse Winery.

“The Garden State Wine Growers Association is proud to have nine of our member wineries join in raising awareness for the COVID-19 vaccination program by offering a free glass of wine to all those of age that show they’ve received their first vaccination dose this May,” said Tom Cosentino, Executive Director, Garden State Wine Growers Association. “We encourage all New Jersey residents to get vaccinated so they can come out this summer to our vineyards and enjoy the award-winning wines New Jersey vintners are producing.”

NJDEP Offers Yearly Pass

Beginning Thursday, May 27, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection will offer a free State Parks Vax Pass under the new “Vax and Visit” campaign to all New Jersey residents who receive at least one dose of their COVID-19 vaccination by July 4, 2021. 

“With continually improving public health indicators, we want every New Jersey resident to get a State Parks Vax Pass and get out to enjoy our incredible State Parks with their families and friends,” said Shawn LaTourette, Acting Commissioner, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. “A free State Parks Vax Pass is just one small way that we can thank our fellow residents for taking good care of themselves and each other by getting vaccinated against COVID-19.”

The State Parks Vax Pass, which will be of the same value as the Annual State Parks Pass, will allow free access to all of New Jersey’s 51 State parks and forest facilities that charge daily walk-in or parking fees, from Thursday, May 27 through Dec. 31. 

Dinner with the Murphy’s

New Jersey residents who have received at least their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine will be able to request a State Parks Vax Pass upon entry at any one of the state’s 51 parks, including Island Beach State Park. The Department of Environmental Protection will also provide refunds to residents who already purchased Annual State Park Passes this year and have been fully vaccinated.

The third offer is a chance for individuals age 18 or older who have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccination in New Jersey since the roll-out of the state’s program in December, can enter to win dinner along with a guest with Gov. Murphy and the First Lady.

The winner will have the choice between dinner at Drumthwacket, the official Governor’s residence located in Princeton, or the Governor’s residence in Island Beach State Park. Entries must be submitted to enter, visit by May 31.

The governor said the new incentives are being offered as state officials “are determined to reach our vaccination goals and make this the best Jersey summer yet.”

Vaccine Distribution

The number of COVID-19 vaccines administered in New Jersey totaled 8,268,420 in-state, plus an additional 357,974 administered out-of-state for a grand total of 8,626,394 as of May 21. Of those who have received the vaccine, 3,850,808 received their second dose or the one jab Johnson & Johnson dose in state and another 166,764 out of state, bringing those fully vaccinated to 4,017,572. 

Demographically, 54% of those vaccinated are women and 46% men. As for ethnicity, 53% are White, 13% Hispanic, 11% Asian, 7% Black, 9% other and 8% unknown. In regards to the age of those having received the vaccine, 28% are 65 years old or olders, 29% are between the ages of 50-64, 28% are between the ages of 30-49, and 15% are between the ages of 12-29.  

In North Jersey, Bergen County has delivered 913,496 doses (429,110 fully vaccinated), Essex 672,724 doses (307,991), Hudson 575,127 doses (258,253), Morris 548,657 doses (258,470), Passaic 410,051 doses (189,006), Sussex 126,686 doses (59,784), and Warren 81,431 doses (38,053). 

Daily Data

As of May 21, the cumulative number of confirmed coronavirus cases in New Jersey was 885,291 with 698 total new PCR cases reported. There were 130 probable cases, bringing the cumulative total of antigen tests to 128,118. The total number of individual cases for the state is 1,013,409. 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 17 new deaths, bringing that total to 23,410. The state listed probable deaths at 2,660, bringing the overall total to 26,070. State officials noted four deaths occurred in the last 24 hours of reporting that have not yet been lab confirmed.  

For North Jersey counties on May 21, Bergen had a total of 100 new confirmed cases and four probable cases, Essex 73 new cases and nine probable cases, Hudson 71 new cases and two probable cases, Morris 17 new cases and 12 probable cases, Passaic 71 new cases and nine probable cases, Sussex 13 new cases and six probable cases, and Warren four new cases and one probable case.

There are a total of 4,295 coronavirus variants being reported in the Garden State. State officials documented 3,968 cases of the U.K. variant (B.1.1.7), 160 cases of the California variants (B.1.429 and B.1.427), 156 cases of the Brazilian (P.1) variant, and 11 cases of the South African (B.1.351) variant. 

Of the total confirmed deaths in North Jersey, Essex County has the most with 2,667, followed by Bergen at 2,563, Hudson with 2,050, Passaic at 1,712, Morris at 970, Sussex at 235 and Warren County at 211.

In regards to probable deaths reported May 19, Bergen has 297, Essex has 296, Morris has 255, Hudson has 214, Passaic has 197, Sussex has 68 and Warren has 25.

State Testing 

As for the rate of transmission reported May 21, it increased to 0.47 from 0.46 the day before. The daily rate of infections from those tested as of May 16, was 3.6%; by region, the rate was 3.3% in the North, 3.0% in the Central region and 5.3% in the South. 

Officials reported 742 patients were hospitalized; by region, there were 374 in the North, 183 in the Central and 186 in the South. Of those hospitalized, 168 are in intensive care units and 110 on ventilators. A total of 112 patients were discharged.

Officials have continually cited transmission rate, hospitalizations, 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 89,446, followed by Middlesex at 84,446, Essex at 84,374, Hudson at 78,536, Monmouth at 67,228, Ocean at 65,403, Passaic at 65,292, Union at 60,212, Camden at 48,691, Morris at 41,708, Burlington at 38,082, Mercer at 31,429, Gloucester at 26,426, Atlantic at 24,842, Somerset at 24,189, Cumberland at 14,765, Sussex at 11,622, Warren at 8,896, Hunterdon at 8,846, Salem at 5,520, and Cape May at 4,590.  

In regards to probable cases, Bergen had the most at 14,591, followed by Union at 10,986, Ocean at 10,135, Essex at 9,437, Hudson at 9,210, Morris at 8,226, Monmouth at 8,032, Middlesex at 7,427, Passaic at 7,315, Atlantic at 6,613, Camden at 6,586, Burlington at 5,938, Somerset at 5,744, Cape May at 4,546, Gloucester at 3,965, Mercer at 2,365, Sussex at 2,298, Cumberland at 2,218, Warren at 1,017, Hunterdon at 894, and Salem 536.

Another 748 cases are still under investigation to determine where the person resides.

In regards to cases related to in-school transmissions, a total of 281 outbreaks involving 1,263 cases, accounting for 18 additional outbreaks and 106 cases from the previous weekly update on May 10. 

For North Jersey, Bergen County has 53 confirmed outbreaks with 202 cases, Sussex has 18 confirmed outbreaks with 78 cases, Passaic County has 16 confirmed outbreaks with 57 cases, Warren has 15 confirmed outbreaks with 36 cases, Morris County has five confirmed outbreaks with 34 cases, Hudson County has five confirmed outbreaks with 23 cases, and Essex County with one confirmed outbreak with 92 cases.

Long-term Care Facilities

Health officials noted 163 long-term care facilities are currently reporting at least one case of COVID-19, accounting for a total of 4,443 of the cases, broken down between 1,608 residents and 2,435 staff. 

Cumulatively, 1,460 long-term care facilities reported a case infecting 32,868 residents and 22,265 staff, for a total of 55,133. 

The state’s official death total will now be reported as those that are lab confirmed, sits at 8,045 on May 20. The facilities are reporting to the state 7,885 residents deaths and 144 staff deaths.

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