Princeton opens its own COVID-19 vaccine pre-registration portal

The municipality of Princeton opened its own COVID-19 vaccine pre-registration portal on Tuesday afternoon, several hours after the Murphy administration opened the statewide online pre-registration portal. Princeton’s simple Microsoft Office form, which is in both English and Spanish, can be accessed online here.

People who pre-register for the vaccine using the Princeton portal will eventually be contacted to set up their appointment when they become eligible for the vaccine. Local officials said people who sign up for the vaccine on the local Princeton waitlist should also pre-register for a vaccine through the State of New Jersey’s online portal as well. Local officials said anyone who wants to get the vaccine at a state-run vaccination clinic or a vaccine mega site will still be requires to pre-register on the state’s website, even if they have already pre-registered for a vaccine with the municipality.

Fred Williams, the spokesman for the municipality, said the list has been created as a courtesy for people in the region to sign up to be on the waitlist to get the vaccine at vaccination clinics in Princeton. The Princeton waitlist is not connected to the state list, he said. If you pre-register on the Princeton list, you will not be automatically added to the state pre-registration database. If you pre-register on the state website, you will not be automatically added to the Princeton waitlist. You must manually add yourself to both lists if you want to be on both lists. Williams said the Princeton waitlist is open to anyone, not just Princeton residents. This waitlist is for anyone who wants the vaccine who qualifies for it in phase 1B or later.

At the Princeton Council’s reorganization meeting on Monday night, asked about vaccine registration management, Health Officer Jeff Grosser explained that local portals were coming online in some areas because some towns and counties were beginning to operate clinics and needed a system to register people, but the state portal had not been activated yet.

Grosser said that in Mercer County, “closed pods” of people eligible for the vaccine in the 1A Group were being identified through various medical groups and first aid groups, in a closed pod setup.

“Obviously once we get into a general population, either the state system is going to have to be set up and then distributed to be utilized or localized scheduling software is going to be needed,” Grosser said Monday. He said Princeton had developed its own system for scheduling, but would still need to access the state system because it integrates with an immunization database that is required for the uploading of vaccine information. Grosser said the first Princeton clinics that will be run next week won’t be using the state system.

“We are still evaluating whether or not, especially once it gets rolled out, it will be easier to use the state system or the one system that we have already created that is ready to go,” Grosser said. “It just depends on what the state system looks like once it gets deployed 100 percent.”

The New Jersey Vaccine Scheduling System pre-registration website allows people to pre-register for the vaccine, even if you are not currently eligible. Currently, the state is only vaccinating health care workers and nursing home residents and staff, classified as 1a.

Phase 1b could start later this month and will include “frontline essential workers” and people who are 75 and older. Frontline workers include transit workers, teachers, school staff, childcare workers, media workers, and other essential workers.

As of Monday, just over 104,000 people in New Jersey have received the first dose of the vaccine so far, though New Jersey Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said at the governor’s press briefing that the reporting on vaccine administration could be lagging.

The state is setting up six mega-clinics for vaccines. None of those clinics are in Mercer County. The closest clinic will be in Edison in Middlesex County. Mercer County officials said the county will also set up large vaccination clinic sites, but no details about the sites have been provided yet. Health care workers currently can make appointments for a vaccine at about 200 locations across the state.