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What has the State done to expand vaccine capacity and access?

Last Updated: 01/27/2023

There is currently widespread vaccine availability across New Jersey and the United States.

Appointments for COVID-19 vaccines are available across New Jersey to everyone 6 months and older.

Expanding Vaccine Capacity and Access

On June 18, 2021, the State reached its ambitious goal of fully vaccinating 4.7 million individuals who live, work, or study in New Jersey nearly two weeks before its original target date of June 30th.

While the State has exceeded its initial goal, it will continue to work with its partners to vaccinate all eligible individuals.

As of December 15, 2021, one year after the start of the State's vaccination effort, more than seven million New Jerseyans have received at least one dose, and more than six million have been fully vaccinated. Additionally, 1.5 million eligible New Jerseyans have received their booster dose. For the latest statistics, visit the Department of Health's COVID-19 dashboard.

There is a network of over 1,500 sites across New Jersey tasked with carrying out the State's COVID-19 vaccination plan fairly and equitably.

Between all of the State's points of vaccine distribution, 98.7 percent of all New Jersey residents live within five miles of where they can get vaccinated. The State's goal is to ensure even greater access in our urban areas, and to have vaccination centers within a 15-minute walk of all residents.

In addition, beginning January 2021, the State has opened several vaccination megasites:

  • Atlantic County: Atlantic City Convention Center (Closed)
  • Bergen County: Fashion Center of Paramus (Closed)
  • Burlington County: Mount Laurel (Closed)
  • Gloucester County: Rowan College of South Jersey, Sewell (Closed)
  • Middlesex County: New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center, Edison (Closed)
  • Morris County: Rockaway Townsquare (Closed)
  • Passaic County: former Macy's Department Store (Closed)
  • Somerset County: Bridgewater Commons Mall (Closed)

Healthcare Facilities and Long-Term Care Facilities

Vaccinations began on December 15, 2020 in New Jersey hospitals for paid and unpaid persons serving in their health facilities.

New Jersey has partnered with Rite Aid to provide vaccinations to home care and hospice staff.

As of April 28, 2021, CVS and Walgreens completed their last rounds of vaccination clinics as part of the Federal Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care (LTC) Program.

Through this partnership, New Jersey administered over 145,000 doses to residents and over 127,000 doses to staff at nearly 1,200 long-term care facilities - including nursing homes, the State's three veterans memorial homes, federal senior housing, all five Developmental centers, and some I/DD group homes.

Vaccination rates are broken down by county and facility on the "Long-Term Care" tab on the NJ Department of Health's Data Dashboard.

Although CVS and Walgreens completed their LTC vaccination clinics, the State remains committed to ensuring continued access for LTC residents and staff through other pharmacy partners. New Jersey also has a network of community vaccination sites for vulnerable residents who live in congregate settings not eligible for this federal partnership.

At-Risk Groups

The State has conducted phone outreach to New Jersey residents ages 65 and over and scheduling vaccine appointments to ensure greater direct access. The State has set aside a minimum of 10,000 doses each week for seniors ages 65 and older with Walmart as well as increased vaccine allocations to megasites for these seniors.

Additionally, CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid has reserved appointments for and prioritizing educators and child care workers.

Vulnerable Communities

The NJ Department of Health has identified 40 municipalities that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and are some of the most diverse and socio-economically challenged communities in the state. These municipalities in particular can benefit from mobile or community vaccination efforts based on the percent of racial and ethnic minorities, the percent of those living in poverty, COVID-19 death rates, and vaccination rates.

On February 19th, New Jersey launched a community-based vaccination partnership to provide equitable access of the COVID-19 vaccine to residents in 10 of these municipalities (Somerset, Trenton, Elizabeth, Vineland, Paterson, Camden, Jersey City, Orange, Newark, and Pleasantville).

In addition, from March 31, 2021 to June 20, a FEMA Community Vaccination Center in Newark at the New Jersey Institute of Technology served vulnerable communities. The Community Vaccination Center had the capacity to vaccinate 6,000 individuals per day, seven days per week. Vaccines were provided directly from the federal government beyond the state's regular allocations.

At the start of May 2021, the COVID Community Corps was deployed to increase public confidence in and uptake of the COVID-19 vaccines in vulnerable communities across New Jersey. The NJ Department of Health began recruiting members in March, and as of May 3, more than 900 members have been trained on COVID vaccine 101, vaccine eligibility and pathways to register for a vaccine.

The COVID Community Corps has visited vulnerable communities to help combat misinformation and vaccine hesitancy and help schedule vaccine appointments. They are also assisting those with limited English proficiency and individuals with limited technology skills with the vaccination process. As of June 21, 2021, the COVID-19 Community Corps has knocked on more than 134,000 doors and made nearly 60,000 phone calls and texts.

In addition, mobile command centers are providing mobile vaccine events to the remaining 30 identified municipalities, and in late June, the State began sending "vaccine ambassadors" to high risk counties to work with elected officials, community leaders, school districts, and faith leaders to increase vaccination rates.

As part of Operation Jersey Summer, the State's effort aimed at vaccinating all eligible individuals who live, work, or study in New Jersey against COVID-19, New Jersey has partnered with faith leaders for Grateful for the Shot. The program brings vaccinations to congregations in targeted communities. Each event has a "block party" feel in a trusted and community atmosphere with a mix of food, music, and prizes in order to break down barriers to accessing the vaccine for individuals and families.

Homebound Individuals

County Areas on Aging have been coordinating with county health departments to identify homebound New Jerseyans in need of vaccination.

Through this collaboration, as of May 5, 2021, roughly 7,000 homebound New Jerseyans have received in-home vaccinations. This number does not count those vaccinated at pop-up clinics held throughout the state in senior housing buildings.

To supplement these efforts, the Department of Health is allocating doses directly to home health agencies, like the Visiting Nurse Associations, to vaccinate the homebound. Many hospitals have also been working with their affiliated homecare agencies to vaccinate people in their homes.

Individuals who have yet to be connected with their local health department or a home health agency, and who need an in-home vaccination, can visit or call 855-568-0545.

Colleges and Universities

In partnership with the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education, the Department of Health is working with New Jersey's colleges and universities to inform and activate their students. As schools determine vaccine plans, the Department of Health is working with them to determine if they would like to host a vaccination site on campus or identifying times and opportunities at the mega-sites or other community sites for their campuses to be vaccinated.

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