New Jersey residents over 16 to become eligible for COVID-19 vaccine

All New Jerseyans aged 16 and older will be eligible to schedule appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations beginning April 19, Gov. Phil Murphy announced earlier this month. 

Speaking at a press briefing on April 5, Murphy said the expansion in eligibility will arrive nearly two weeks earlier than the May 1 date projected by the governor in March.

“Given the trajectory we are on, we believe this is the right time to put our program into higher gear,” Murphy said at the briefing.

(Catherine Falls Commercial / Getty Images)

The two-dose COVID-19 vaccines created by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are currently the only ones being administered at hospitals, mega-sites, local health departments and retail-pharmacy chains across New Jersey.

Distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the only single-dose COVID-19 vaccine approved for broad distribution in the United States, was  paused this week by the CDC due to reports of blood clotting in eight individuals who received the Johnson & Johnson shot.

According to Murphy, approximately 235,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been administered in New Jersey “with no similar reported adverse effects.”

Jyothi Maruthanal, sophomore biology major who works as a medical scribe and volunteers as an EMT, said she received both doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. 

“I work in a couple of different healthcare settings and saw the effects of COVID-19 both with my own eyes and through my parents who are both registered nurses,” Maruthanal said.

Currently, those eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine include individuals age 55 and older, individuals age 16 and older with intellectual or developmental disabilities and individuals age 16 and older with certain medical conditions. 

Several occupations also qualify for COVID-19 vaccinations, including health workers, public safety workers, members of the media and transportation workers.

Douglas Henningsen, senior English major, said he recently received his first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine due to his eligibility as a library worker.  

“Although my age makes it unlikely that the virus will heavily impact me, I made the choice to be vaccinated to help with herd immunity and to protect my family,” Henningsen said.

According to an email from the Health Intervention and Communication Team, Seton Hall has reached out to “ government and corporate partners” to express interest in providing a COVID-19 vaccine clinic to members of the University community.“While the current level of available vaccines means that is not possible, we will do all we can to provide this service when circumstances permit,” the email read.

As of April 13, approximately 3.5 million New Jersey residents have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dosage while an estimated 2.2 million New Jerseyans have been fully vaccinated, according to the nj.gov COVID-19 dashboard.

Vaccine information:

Louis Motta can be reached at louis.motta@student.shu.edu 

Author: Louis Motta

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