Officials push COVID-19 booster shot as hospitalizations rise around New Jersey

New Jersey health officials are urging all eligible New Jersey residents to get the COVID-19 vaccine and booster shot because of rising virus-related hospitalizations.

News 12 Staff

Dec 14, 2021, 12:23 AM

Updated 914 days ago

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New Jersey health officials are urging all eligible New Jersey residents to get the COVID-19 vaccine and booster shot because of rising virus-related hospitalizations.
More than 1,600 people being treated for COVID-19-related complications are currently in New Jersey hospitals. There have been more than 1,000 average hospitalizations in the state for the last five weeks.
State officials say that booster shots are lagging. Only about one-third of those who are vaccinated for COVID-19 have gotten the booster.
The state Health Department is now asking local governments to open more vaccine sites and extend hours of operation.
Officials in Union County have been working toward this. They say that the threat of the omicron variant is the reason.
Vaccines will be available at the following sites in the county:
Plainfield High School on Saturdays from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m.
Kean University in Union Township on Wednesdays and Fridays from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m.
Warinanco Park in Roselle on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m.
Union County officials say that at least 85% of residents have at least one dose. But the booster rate is at 25%, which is comparable for the rest of the state.
“We know the demand is higher. Last week we held a Union County food distribution site. And just at the food distribution site alone, we had over 160 residents come through in their cars to try to get vaccinated,” says Sergio Granados, chairman of the Union County Public Safety Committee. “We see that at all our locations, through our mobile clinics to our permanent sites. The number of people trying to get vaccinated has been increasing. And people are trying to get boosters also.”
This comes as New Jersey endures a holiday wave of COVID-19 – a year into the vaccination effort. There were nearly 3,000 new cases of the virus on Monday. Last December, right before the rollout of the vaccine, there were about 4,000 new cases.
The weekly average of new cases of the virus in New Jersey is about 3,700, compared to almost 5,000 a year ago.
This time last year there were 3,600 COVID-19 patients in the hospital. And state officials say they fear New Jersey could hit that again next month.
“And that’s if things stay the way they are right now,” said state Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli.
She said the vaccine still matters. Those who are unvaccinated are six-times more likely to end up in the hospital. But she admits that breakthrough cases of COVID-19 are rising and now stand at about 20%. Officials say that this is likely because some of the effects of the vaccine are wearing off, which is worrisome 12 days before Christmas.
New Jersey will be opening a new mega vaccination site at the empty Lord & Taylor department store at the Bridgewater Commons Mall. It will open on Wednesday as an event the Murphy administration has dubbed “Boost New Jersey Day.” It coincides with the day the first COVID-19 vaccine dose went out, one year ago.


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