New Jersey’s Plan for COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

1/13/2021 Update:

Beginning January 14th, individuals over 65 and individuals 16-54 with certain medical conditions as defined by the CDC will be eligible.

Individuals at High Risk (Phase 1B) (effective 1/14/21)

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

If you are eligible to receive a vaccine, there are generally three ways to get vaccinated:

  1. You can make an appointment directly with one of the many designated vaccination sites across the state.
  2. You can pre-register for the vaccine on the NJ Vaccine Scheduling System, and you will be notified when an appointment is available to you.
  3. Select healthcare facilities, including many hospitals, are offering vaccines to directly to their workers. If you work at one of the facilities, you can contact your employer to learn if the vaccine is available to you from your employer.

1/10/2021 Update: The State of New Jersey has added people 75 and older to the Phase 1B group. All other Phase 1A persons, including those outside of hospitals and long-term care facilities, will now be able to receive the vaccine through other vaccination sites at pharmacies, urgent care centers, federally qualified health centers, hospitals, local health departments, other state- and county-run sites, and other medical clinics.


1/7/2020 Update: New Jersey will roll out COVID-19 vaccines step-by-step to serve all adults who live, work, or are being educated in the state. While the State’s current plan is highlighted below, the plan will continually be updated in response to the changing circumstances of the pandemic.

New Jersey’s COVID-19 vaccination program aims to:

  • Provide equitable access to all who live, work, and/or are educated in New Jersey
  • Achieve community protection, assuming vaccine effectiveness, availability, and uptake
  • Build sustainable trust in COVID-19 and other vaccines

The State’s goal is to vaccinate 70 percent of the adult population – or 4.7 million adults – within six months.

Vaccination Phases

Currently, vaccines are available to those who are in Phase 1A which includes paid and unpaid persons serving in health care settings who have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials as well as residents and staff of long-term congregate settings. For more information about Phase 1A, refer to this article.

Beginning January 7th, vaccines will be available to those in Phase 1B, starting with sworn law enforcement personnel and fire professionals, which includes but is not limited to police officers and paid and unpaid firefighters. Many sworn law enforcement personnel are also first responders and are the first priority group within Phase 1B and will be the first in that group to have access. Note: Individuals 75 years and older are also included in Phase 1B.

The remainder of the essential workers and other high risk individuals included in Phase 1B will be announced shortly.

Once vaccine availability expands, vaccination will advance to Phase 1C and then Phase 2.

Phase 1C will include other essential workers, adults 65 and over, and persons aged 16-64 with medical conditions that increase the risk for severe COVID-19 as defined by the CDC.

Defining categories of individuals to include in 1C is currently in process and will be finalized in early 2021. The categories will be informed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce” advisory list, ACIP recommendations, and recommendations of the NJDOH COVID-19 Professional Advisory Committee.

Following these phases, the general public (Phase 2) will be eligible for vaccination.

For more information about the phased approach and priority groups, refer to this Health Department document.

Vaccine Distribution

New Jersey was awarded over 400,000 vaccines in the month of December. Of that, approximately 120,000 doses have been reserved for long-term care facilities and 280,000 doses have been allocated to hospitals and community sites.

New Jersey was awarded an additional 106,000 for the first week of January. Of that, approximately 53,000 doses have been reserved for long-term care facilities with another 53,000 being allocated to hospitals and community sites.

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

New Jersey is partnering with Rite Aid to provide vaccinations to home care and hospice staff. Information about scheduling appointments is being provided through home health agencies and their industry associations.

As of December 30, through the Federal Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program with CVS and Walgreens, New Jersey has over 500 long-term care facilities scheduled – including the State’s three veterans memorial homes – and over 100,000 residents and staff slated to receive vaccinations through the beginning of February 2021. Additional sites will be added in the coming weeks.

After nursing home residents and staff are vaccinated, CVS and Walgreens will begin to vaccinate thousands of residents and staff in other congregate settings including Assisted Living facilities, the five state developmental centers, federal housing for seniors and group homes and other long-term residential facilities. New Jersey also has a network of community vaccination sites for vulnerable residents who live in congregate settings not eligible for this federal partnership.

New Jersey is also developing an extensive network of vaccination sites to serve those currently eligible for vaccination. By early January, the vaccination sites network will include acute care hospitals, large state-coordinated mega sites, county/local sites, retail pharmacies and other medical locations. At this time, New Jersey cannot arrange for all groups to receive distributions directly, so vaccine recipients may need to go off-site to be vaccinated.

Six mega sites throughout New Jersey will serve as vaccination hubs for phased priority groups, part of a critical network of over 200 sites tasked with carrying out the state’s COVID-19 vaccination plan fairly and equitably:

  • Atlantic County: Atlantic City Convention Center
  • Bergen County: Racetrack at Meadowlands, East Rutherford
  • Burlington County: Moorestown Mall
  • Gloucester County: Rowan College of South Jersey, Sewell (opens 1/8/21)
  • Middlesex County: New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center, Edison
  • Morris County: Rockaway Townsquare (opens 1/8/21)

The six state-coordinated sites are expected to begin opening in early January and will immediately be in position to vaccinate front-line healthcare workers and then continue in a phased approach depending on the supply of vaccine to New Jersey. After these phases are complete, then the general public will be eligible for vaccination. The timing of the progression among the groups depends on the supply of vaccine to the state balanced by the demand in various phases.

Scheduling A Vaccination

Phase 1A individuals and sworn law enforcement personnel and fire professionals in Phase 1B can get vaccinated by registering for a vaccine on the NJ Vaccine Scheduling System, or by making an appointment at one of the designated sites found on this page.

If you don’t qualify for Phase 1A or Phase 1B, register on the NJ Vaccine Scheduling System and we will notify you when the vaccine is available for you.

This online portal enables the various groups in the initial phases and eventually the general public to register and then find a vaccination site, pre-register, and schedule an appointment. Some vaccination sites may offer walk-up/on-site registration as well when doses are more readily available.

Note: All sites in New Jersey are currently only serving people who are part of Phase 1A or sworn law enforcement personnel and fire professionals in Phase 1B. No professional or medical documentation is required.

Vaccination Data

Executive Order No. 207 changes inclusion into the New Jersey Immunization Information System (NJIIS) from an opt-in to an opt-out program for any resident who chooses to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. This means that individuals who wish to be vaccinated against COVID-19 do not have to first opt-in to the system to make sure that their two-dose regimen is properly tracked and managed. 30 days after the current public health emergency ends, individuals who enrolled due to the COVID-19 vaccine will be afforded the opportunity to withdraw from the system. The Executive Order does not force anyone to receive the vaccine.

NJIIS will securely store the vaccine recipient’s name, address, date of birth, race, ethnicity, and gender. These are standard data elements that have been used across vaccines administered in New Jersey. These will be requested during pre-registration and/or on-site. Information about the vaccine provider, substance, and administration will be collected from the POD personnel.

There are other data that New Jerseyans may be asked and that will not be stored in NJIIS. Depending on the POD and its scheduling process, New Jerseyans can also expect to provide additional demographic and occupational data to ensure equitable and efficient scheduling of vaccinations. These data points will be informed by ACIP recommendations about prioritization (e.g. Phase 1A will include healthcare personnel).

Finally, medical screening questions will be asked to assess eligibility under the EUA and ACIP recommendations specific to the vaccine product offered at the point of dispensing.

All data collected can only be used for public health purposes, like ensuring that the same person returns for a second dose of the same COVID-19 vaccine at the right time interval. Data cannot be used for civil or criminal enforcement and cannot be used for immigration enforcement.

For more information about NJIIS, refer to NJ DOH’s Keeping Track of COVID-19 Vaccine through NJIIS document.

The Department is finalizing a public dashboard which will show doses administered and some demographic information. Data will be updated weekly and refined over time.

Source: COVID-19 BriefingsDOH COVID-19 Vaccination PageDOH Health Commissioner Persichilli’s Remarks 12/28/20

 

 

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