Gov. Murphy: Millions of New Jersey residents now eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccine
Millions of New Jersey residents are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine after Gov. Phil Murphy said anyone 65 and older, and anyone 16 to 64 with conditions creating an increased risk of serious illness from COVID-19, can now receive the vaccine.
According to the CDC, those conditions include cancer, kidney disease, COPD, heart conditions, down syndrome, obesity, and even smokers. Pregnant women and organ transplant recipients are also eligible, but should consult with their doctors first.
Those who have yet to receive their vaccine in group 1A, which includes firefighters and police officers, remain eligible.
But what happens if you can't find an appointment? Ever since the governor’s announcement Wednesday which added millions of people who now qualify, health departments are finding themselves overwhelmed with requests. The message from both the governor's office and health departments say the answer is very simple – be patient.
With this announcement, websites quickly crashed, appointments filled up, and health departments became overwhelmed with questions.
“Regardless of where you live, just be patient. I think this will be a statewide issue be patient our call volume is exhausted reached the maximum as well,” says Ocean County Public Health Coordinator Dan Regeyne.
Regenye says his office had just 30 minutes prior to the governor's 1 p.m. briefing to prepare for the enormous surge of calls, emails, and bookings.
“When you're looking at about a couple hundred thousand people calling you and emailing you for registration appointments when the proper infrastructure is not rolled out to handle that, it just needs to be coordinated a little bit better than that,” says Regenye.
Regenye says with patience, comes encouragement – millions of people in New Jersey want the vaccine.
“It's a daunting challenge to receive the challenge,” says Regenye. “It is exciting. We are happy the need is out there, we just need to be able to handle the supply side of it, the vaccine and staffing and opportunities for the vaccine to be administered to them.”
The easiest way to sign up for a vaccine is to pre-register using the state's website, or your local health department's website.