Asbury Park program helps find COVID-19 appointments for city residents

Asbury Park is helping its residents get the COVID-19 vaccine by scheduling appointments for them and making the shots easy to obtain.
Anyone who is eligible to receive the vaccine and lives in the city can call the Asbury Park Social Service Department’s hotline to set up an appointment. The department is often able to turn around appointments within the very same day or within a week’s time.
There are three vaccine sites in the city, located at Second Baptist Church, the Visiting Nurse Association building on Main Street and the Senior Center. Residents will not have to go to the county-run sites or the state-run megasites.
The program has helped 1,500 people land a vaccine appointment so far. City officials say that there is virtually no waiting list.
APPOINTMENT INFORMATION:Where and how to get vaccinated
But Asbury Park officials say that they are dealing with another different problem – vaccine hesitancy.
“I’m not 100% convinced and I’m not in the area where I need it right away,” says resident Carolyn Jenkins. “I’m not older, I’m not sick.”
Jenkins says that she hasn’t ruled out getting the vaccine and says that it does help to see others get their shots.
“Mostly I think there should be more research on the vaccine, a little bit longer period,” she says.
But others may never be convinced.
“If a couple of years pass and people are OK and it’s mandatory, I’ll take it,” says Bri-Anna Prince.
She says that she fears the potential side effects of the shot. But studies have shown that at this point there have been none.
Asbury Park officials say that their vaccine program has helped the city’s senior population. And that by providing a phone number, they have eliminated the need for the seniors to navigate the internet for an appointment.