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

Last Updated: 04/05/2021

New Jersey is rolling out COVID-19 vaccines step-by-step to serve all adults who live, work, or study in the state. Vaccination eligibility is based on availability and individual risk. As eligibility expands, the details below will be updated.

It's important to know that the number of eligible individuals will continue to grow, even before those who have been eligible are entirely vaccinated.

Who is eligible for vaccination at this time?

Currently, vaccines are available to the following groups (more details, including exactly who qualifies in these categories can be found below):

  • Individuals age 55+
  • Individuals age 16-54 with certain medical conditions
  • Individuals age 16-54 with intellectual and developmental disabilities
  • Childcare workers in licensed and registered settings
  • Clergy
  • Communications, IT, and media workers
  • Educators and staff, including pre-K to 12 and higher education
  • Eldercare and support workers
  • Elections personnel
  • First responders
  • Healthcare workers
  • Hospitality workers
  • Individuals experiencing homelessness and those living in shelters
  • Judicial system workers
  • Laundry services workers
  • Librarians and library support staff
  • Long-term care and high-risk congregate care facility residents and staff
  • Medical supply chain employees
  • Members of tribal communities
  • Migrant farm workers
  • Postal and shipping service workers
  • Public safety workers
  • Real estate, building, and home services workers
  • Retail financial institution workers
  • Sanitation workers
  • Social service workers and support staff
  • Transportation workers
  • Utilities workers
  • Warehousing and logistics workers

Upcoming Eligibility Changes

As of Monday, April 19th, all individuals aged 16 and older will be eligible for vaccination.

More Details About Who Is In Each Category

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 and 1C)

Individuals aged 55 and older, and individuals ages 16-54 with medical conditions, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that increase or might increase the risk of severe illness from the virus. These conditions include:

  • Asthma (moderate to severe)
  • Cancer
  • Cerebrovascular Disease
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Down Syndrome
  • Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
  • Hypertension or High Blood Pressure
  • Liver Disease
  • Neurologic conditions (e.g. dementia)
  • Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 kg/m2 or higher but < 40 kg/m2)
  • Severe Obesity (BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2)
  • Overweight (BMI ≥ 25 kg/m2)
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis (damaged or scarred lung tissues)
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Smoking/nicotine addiction
  • Thalassemia (type of blood disorder)
  • Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes mellitus
  • Note: Individuals who are pregnant and those in an immunocompromised state (weakened immune system)are also eligible but should follow CDC guidance and first discuss vaccination with their medical provider before receiving the vaccine.

Educators and Childcare Workers (Phase 1B)

  • Paid and unpaid people working in pre-K through 12th grade settings, including teachers, staff, classroom aides, bus drivers, janitors, counselors, administration staff, cafeteria workers, and substitute teachers
  • Head Start and Early Head Start program staff
  • Any other paid or unpaid persons working in schools serving those pre-K to grade 12
  • Paid and unpaid people working in licensed or registered childcare settings, including center-based and family childcare providers

Transportation Workers (Phase 1B)

  • Public and local transportation workers, including bus, taxi, rideshare, and airport employees; NJ TRANSIT workers; and Motor Vehicle Commission staff

Additional Public Safety Workers (Phase 1B)

  • Public safety workers who are not sworn law enforcement or fire professionals, including probation officers and fire safety inspectors

Additional High-Risk Individuals (Phase 1B)

  • Migrant farm workers;
  • Members of tribal communities;
  • Individuals experiencing homelessness and those living in shelters, including domestic violence shelters.

Additional Frontline Essential Workers (Phase 1B and 1C)
Essential workers in the following sectors are eligible for vaccination:

  • Clergy
  • Communications, IT, media workers, including communications infrastructure support (engineers, technicians) and members of the press
  • Eldercare and support workers
  • Elections personnel
  • Food production, agriculture, and food distribution workers
  • Higher Education workers, including educators and support staff
  • Hospitality workers
  • Real estate, building, and home services workers, including construction workers, code officials, plumbers, electricians, HVAC technicians, property management, and maintenance workers
  • Retail financial institution workers, including bank tellers, lending service, public accounting, and check cashing workers.
  • Judicial system workers
  • Laundry services workers, including workers in laundromats, laundry services, and dry cleaners
  • Librarians, including librarians and support staff at municipal, county, and state libraries (i.e. those not included in K-12 announcement)
  • Medical supply chain workers
  • Postal and shipping service workers
  • Sanitation workers, including workers providing disinfection and janitorial services for all essential facilities and modes of transportation; city sanitation workers; residential, commercial, and industrial solid and hazardous waste removal
  • Social service workers and support staff
  • Utilities workers, including electrical generation and supply system, natural gas delivery, nuclear power plant, water supply, telephone, cable/fiber optical/broadband/cellular service workers
  • Warehousing and logistics workers

Individuals 16 and older with intellectual and developmental disabilities (Phase 1C)

  • Developmental disabilities are a group of conditions due to an impairment in physical, learning, language, or behavior areas.

All New Jerseyans can register for the vaccine in the NJ Vaccine Scheduling System and be notified when you are eligible for the vaccine, and again when a vaccination appointment is available to you through the system If you are eligible, you can also schedule an appointment directly with vaccine locations, many of which do not make appointments through the NJ Vaccine Scheduling System.

Who is eligible for vaccination next?

As of Monday, April 19th, all individuals aged 16 and older will be eligible for vaccination.

Additional Information

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