COVID vaccine sites in NJ completely booked — Biden plan offers hope
Until a proposal to administer 100 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in the first 100 days of the Biden administration takes effect, it will be a long wait for those who want to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
The state opened up eligibility for the vaccine to include those who are over the age of 65 as well as any person 16 and older with underlying conditions. Healthcare workers, law enforcement personnel and residents of long term care facilities were already on the list.
About 4 million people in New Jersey are now eligible to get a vaccine but the state receives just 100,000 doses of the vaccine a week.
As of Wednesday, 1.2 million people had signed up for a vaccine at one of the 165 points of distribution at both government and private 259 will eventually be opened, according to the Gov. Phil Murphy on Wednesday.
According to the Health Department website, 300,000 doses have been administered statewide. The department did not immediately respond to a message from New Jersey 101.5 on Friday morning seeking an updated number of sign-ups and vaccinations.
Wakefern, the cooperative for ShopRite supermarkets in New Jersey, said its coronavirus vaccination schedule at its 39 pharmacies are booked and no new appointments are being accepted.
The Ocean County Department of Health on its Facebook page on Friday said all appointments at the county vaccine clinic at Toms River High School North are full. Ocean County Commissioner Gerry Little said that within minutes of the official announcement on Wednesday, 100,000 people tried to make an appointment on the county website, causing it to crash.
“With almost 200,000 seniors living in Ocean County, the largest population of seniors in the state, we need far more distribution venues and certainly a much greater number of actual vaccines to accommodate everyone currently allowed to get it,” Ocean County Commissioner Gerry Little said in a written statement. “As for now, we are urging our residents to be patient as we are working as quickly as possible to accomplish the task ahead of us.”
Little said the county is averaging 500 vaccinations a day and ramping up to 700.
A second Ocean County Health Department vaccination clinic is expected to open at Southern Regional Middle School in Stafford in the coming week for vaccinations on Tuesday and Saturday.
Summit Medical Group posted on its website that it cannot take more vaccine appointment requests.
"We are working hard to secure more vaccine doses and expect that supplies will increase in the weeks and months ahead. Please check back frequently for updates," its statement said.
The news is a bit better from Somerset County, where there are slots available as of late Friday morning for the county vaccination center at Raritan Valley College in Branchburg on Monday, according to county spokesman Nathan Rudy,
"We have 400 slots open for Somerset County residents who are 1A, 65 and over and law enforcement and fire. Those appointments are open right now. There's a link on our homepage. As with all COVID vaccine there are limited supplies so if people sign up it's first come first serve but if people register they really need to come," Rudy told New Jersey 101.5.
Rudy said that everyone in Somerset County who wants to be vaccinated will receive a vaccine dose and said that all doses are made available as they come in to the county.
"But we ask people to be patient because there is a limited supply at this time," Rudy said.
The patience will be rewarded across the state if President-elect Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus plan to end "a crisis of deep human suffering" that includes a significant ramping up of the distribution of vaccines is approved by Congress.
“We will have to move heaven and earth to get more people vaccinated,” Biden said.
The American Rescue Plan proposes administering 100 million vaccines by the 100th day of his administration. Only 30 million doses have been administered as of Thursday, according to Biden.