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Mercer County ranks 15th out of 21 N.J. counties for the number of COVID-19 vaccines administered as of Jan. 14

New Jersey has been allocated 655,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses so far. As of Wednesday, 253,775 first doses of the vaccine and 33,898 second doses have been administered across the state, according to state data.

Mercer County ranks 12th in the state in terms of population, with an estimated 367,000 residents. Somerset County ranks 13th in terms of population, with an estimated 325,000 residents.

Mercer County ranks 15th out of 21 counties when it comes to the number of vaccines that have been administered so far. As of Wednesday, Jan. 14, 7,002 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the county. In Middlesex County, 21,126 doses have been administered. In Somerset County, 11,398 doses have been administered so far.

“The vaccine rollout is quickly evolving,” Princeton Health Officer Jeff Groser said in a Zoom call on Thursday. The first doses of the vaccine that were given to health care workers through local clinics were administered in Hamilton the week of Dec. 28. The second week, the clinics were in West Windsor. This week the clinics were in Princeton for health care workers and first responders. Grosser said 500 people in those groups were vaccinated in Princeton this week.

“In the coming weeks, things could be changing quite a bit, with an increased number of vaccines available,” through places like pharmacies, Grosser said. “The issue with the rollout is not necessarily due to the limited number of doses,” Grosser said. “It’s also the process of vaccinating individuals. A 15 to 30-minute observation period has to occur because of potential adverse reactions. People must go into a room, socially distanced with a mask after administration, and wait under observation from an emergency medical technician.

Proper space is needed where people can wait in a socially distanced manner. For vaccine clinics in smaller spaces, this slows down how many people can be vaccinated, Grosser said. “This slows down the thru-put,” he said. Grosser said he anticipates 500 vaccine doses being administered in Princeton each week on a consistent basis through the first week in February.

“In the meantime, we are assisting Mercer County as they work to deploy a vaccine site at Mercer County Community College,” Grosser said. About 1,000 to 2,000 people will be able to get vaccinations at the county site each day, he said. The site could open by the end of the month or in early February.

“We are still expecting about 500 doses a week for Princeton moving ahead,” Grosser said. “A number of other local spots will be coming online soon.”

Grosser said a vaccine clinic for the health care workers at Princeton University is also being planned.

“There are two ways locally you can try to find a vaccine,” Grosser said. “You can visit the N.J. COVID-19 vaccine site, and based on eligibility, the state will reach out. You can also find locations┬áin your geographic area. A number are already backlogged…we anticipate more coming online, and that there will be more slots coming quickly.”

Grosser noted that Princeton has created its own online localized health department vaccine waitlist. “The purpose of this waitlist is for us to identify individuals in our geographic area we can proactively communicate with as the vaccine becomes available.”

He said local health department officials do not have direct access to the state’s online vaccine registration system.

Grosser also noted that trends for COVID-19 cases in Princeton have changed recently. “We are seeing cases in households spread more quickly than we’ve ever seen,” he said. “Four or five people living together all become infected. Whether this is a change in the virus — whatever it is — we are seeing the change epidemiologically in clusters.”

Vaccine distribution by county

ATLANTIC COUNTY10,234 Doses Administered

BERGEN COUNTY31,665 Doses Administered

BURLINGTON COUNTY13,905 Doses Administered

CAMDEN COUNTY15,833 Doses Administered

CAPE MAY COUNTY4,277 Doses Administered

CUMBERLAND COUNTY4,195 Doses Administered

ESSEX COUNTY24,083 Doses Administered

GLOUCESTER COUNTY9,848 Doses Administered

HUDSON COUNTY11,893 Doses Administered

HUNTERDON COUNTY4,578 Doses Administered

MERCER COUNTY7,002 Doses Administered

MIDDLESEX COUNTY21,126 Doses Administered

MONMOUTH COUNTY22,782 Doses Administered

MORRIS COUNTY20,950 Doses Administered

OCEAN COUNTY15,508 Doses Administered

OUT OF STATE COUNTY14,269 Doses Administered

PASSAIC COUNTY13,269 Doses Administered

SALEM COUNTY1,399 Doses Administered

SOMERSET COUNTY11,398 Doses Administered

SUSSEX COUNTY4,700 Doses Administered

UNION COUNTY13,458 Doses Administered

UNKNOWN COUNTY8,519 Doses Administered

WARREN COUNTY2,949 Doses Administered