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 in 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 COUNTY – 10,234 Doses Administered
BERGEN COUNTY – 31,665 Doses Administered
BURLINGTON COUNTY – 13,905 Doses Administered
CAMDEN COUNTY – 15,833 Doses Administered
CAPE MAY COUNTY – 4,277 Doses Administered
CUMBERLAND COUNTY – 4,195 Doses Administered
ESSEX COUNTY – 24,083 Doses Administered
GLOUCESTER COUNTY – 9,848 Doses Administered
HUDSON COUNTY – 11,893 Doses Administered
HUNTERDON COUNTY – 4,578 Doses Administered
MERCER COUNTY – 7,002 Doses Administered
MIDDLESEX COUNTY – 21,126 Doses Administered
MONMOUTH COUNTY – 22,782 Doses Administered
MORRIS COUNTY – 20,950 Doses Administered
OCEAN COUNTY – 15,508 Doses Administered
OUT OF STATE COUNTY – 14,269 Doses Administered
PASSAIC COUNTY – 13,269 Doses Administered
SALEM COUNTY – 1,399 Doses Administered
SOMERSET COUNTY – 11,398 Doses Administered
SUSSEX COUNTY – 4,700 Doses Administered
UNION COUNTY – 13,458 Doses Administered
UNKNOWN COUNTY – 8,519 Doses Administered
WARREN COUNTY– 2,949 Doses Administered