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Who is eligible for vaccination in New Jersey? Who is included in the vaccination phases?

Last Updated: 03/01/2021

New Jersey is rolling out COVID-19 vaccines step-by-step to serve all adults who live, work, or study in the state.

Who is eligible for vaccination at this time?

Currently, vaccines are available to the following groups:

  • Paid and unpaid healthcare workers
  • Residents and workers of long-term care and high-risk congregate care facilities
  • First responders including sworn law enforcement and fire professionals
  • Individuals aged over 65
  • Individuals aged 16-64 that have certain medical conditions that increase the risk of severe illness from the virus

Beginning March 15th, the following groups will be eligible to book vaccine appointments:

  • Pre-K to 12 educators and staff
  • Childcare workers
  • Transportation workers
  • Additional public safety workers
  • Additional high-risk individuals

Beginning March 29th, additional frontline essential workers will be eligible to book vaccine appointments.

See below for additional details on who is eligible to receive the vaccine.

Healthcare Personnel (Phase 1A)

Paid and unpaid persons serving in health care settings who have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials, including, but not limited to:

  • Licensed healthcare professionals like doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists
  • Staff like receptionists, janitors, mortuary services, laboratory technicians
  • Consultants, per diem, and contractors who are not directly employed by the facility
  • Unpaid workers like health professional students, trainees, volunteers, and essential caregivers
  • Community health workers, doulas, and public health professionals like Medical Reserve Corps
  • Personnel with variable venues like EMS, paramedics, funeral staff, and autopsy workers
  • All workers in acute, pediatric, and behavioral health hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers
  • All workers in health facilities like psychiatric facilities, Federally Qualified Health Centers, and rehabs
  • All workers in clinic-based settings like urgent care clinics, dialysis centers, and family planning sites
  • All workers in long-term care settings like nursing homes, assisted living facilities, group homes, and others
  • All workers in occupational-based healthcare settings like health clinics within workplaces, shelters, jails, colleges and universities, and K-12 schools
  • All workers in community-based healthcare settings like PACE and Adult Living Community Nursing
  • All workers in home-based settings like hospice, home care, and visiting nurse services
  • All workers in office-based healthcare settings like physician and dental offices
  • All workers in public health settings like local health departments, LINCS agencies, harm reduction centers, and medicinal marijuana programs
  • All workers in retail, independent, and institutional pharmacies
  • Other paid or unpaid people who work in a healthcare setting, who may have direct or indirect contact with infectious persons or materials, and who cannot work from home.

Long-Term Care Residents and Staff (Phase 1A)

All residents and workers of long-term care and high-risk congregate care facilities, including:

  • Skilled nursing facilities
  • Veterans homes
  • Assisted living facilities, continuing care retirement communities, and personal care homes
  • Group homes like residential care homes, adult family homes, adult foster homes, and intellectual and developmental disabilities group homes
  • HUD 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program residences
  • Institutional settings like psychiatric hospitals, correctional institutions, county jails, and juvenile detention facilities (for eligible minors, e.g. 16+ years of age may be eligible for Pfizer vaccine under the emergency use authorization)
  • Other vulnerable, congregate, long-term settings

First Responders (Phase 1B)

Sworn law enforcement, firefighters, and other first responders, including:

  • New Jersey State Police troopers
  • Municipal and county police officers
  • Campus police officers
  • Detectives in prosecutors' offices and state agencies
  • State agency/authority law enforcement officers (e.g. State Park Police and Conservation Officers, Palisades Interstate Parkway Officers, Human Services police, and NJTransit police)
  • Investigator, Parole and Secured Facilities Officers
  • Aeronautical Operations Specialists
  • Sworn Federal Law Enforcement Officers and Special Agents
  • Bi-State law enforcement officers (e.g. Port Authority)
  • Court Security Officers
  • Paid and unpaid members of firefighting services (structural and wildland)
  • Paid and unpaid members of Search and Rescue Units including technical rescue units and HAZMAT teams
  • Paid and unpaid firefighters who provide emergency medical services
  • Paid and unpaid members of Industrial units that perform Fire, Rescue and HAZMAT services
  • Members of State Fire Marshal's Offices
  • Bi-State Fire Service Personnel (e.g. Port Authority)

Individuals at High Risk (Phase 1B)

Individuals aged 65 and older, and individuals ages 16-64 with medical conditions, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that increase the risk of severe illness from the virus. These conditions include:

  • Cancer
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  • Down Syndrome
  • Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
  • Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 kg/m2 or higher but < 40 kg/m2)
  • Severe Obesity (BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2)
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Smoking
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus
  • Note: Individuals who are pregnant and those in an immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant are also eligible but should follow CDC guidance and first discuss vaccination with their medical provider before receiving the vaccine.

If you are currently eligible, click here for more information on where to get vaccinated.

Who is eligible for vaccination next?

Beginning Monday, March 15, the following categories are eligible for vaccination:

  • 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.

Additionally, beginning on Monday, March 29, frontline essential workers in the following categories are also eligible for vaccination:

  • 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.

NOTE: Vaccination phases are tentative and subject to change. The movement between vaccination eligibility phases is fluid. One phase may overlap with another. Not all individuals in one phase will be vaccinated before opening to additional groups. Announcements regarding vaccine eligibility for additional groups, including the general population, will be forthcoming.

Click here for more information on where the vaccines will be available. All New Jerseyans can register for the vaccine here.

Additional Information

Source: COVID-19 Briefings; DOH COVID-19 Vaccination Page