Mercer County will open a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the CURE Insurance Arena in Trenton. Capital Health will manage the site, which is scheduled to have a soft opening next week.
“We are committed to doing everything we can to help get eligible people vaccinated as quickly as possible,” Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes said. “We had a successful partnership with Capital Health during the COVID-19 testing program we established last spring, and I can’t think of a more fitting partner for this next phase of the pandemic response.”
Hughes said state officials anticipate that the federal government will be releasing increased amounts of vaccine soon, but the time frame is uncertain. “When we do get vaccine, we’ll make sure that every single dose gets put in the arm of someone who wants it,” he said.
The arena site will be for residents who are eligible under the state’s phase-in plan that is designed to ensure that residents who are most at risk of exposure to COVID-19 or developing complications from the virus are prioritized, Hughes said. Residents should pre-register online to receive a vaccine through the New Jersey Vaccination Scheduling System. Residents who have pre-registered will be notified when they are eligible to make a vaccination appointment. Appointments currently are required at all vaccination sites. State officials have said they expect to have a consumer call center up and running soon to assist people without Internet access in scheduling appointments, and to help answer questions.
Mercer County is also working on opening a vaccination site at Mercer County Community College in West Windsor. A local health official estimated Thursday that the site could open near the end of the month or in early February. The site will be managed by the Mercer County Health Officers Association and use the resources and staffing available from the municipal and county health offices, as well as Mercer County Community College nursing students. The CURE Insurance Arena and Mercer County Community College locations will supplement smaller vaccination sites, including those currently being operated by municipal health departments and other health care facilities in Mercer County, Hughes said.
As of early this week, Mercer County had vaccinated fewer residents per capita than any other county in the state. As of Friday, the county ranked 15th out of all 21 counties for the number of vaccines distributed. Just over 7,800 vaccines had been administered at clinics in Mercer County as of Friday.
The state expanded vaccination eligibility on Thursday to people age 65 and older and people ages 16 to 64 with certain chronic medical conditions that increase the risk of severe illness from the virus. Other residents who are already eligible include front-line health care workers, residents and staff at long-term and congregate facilities, sworn law enforcement personnel, firefighters, and other first responders. An announcement by state officials regarding vaccinations for the remainder of the essential workers and people who are at high risk who will be eligible under Phase 1B and Phase 1C will be forthcoming, officials said.
On Friday, the state’s vaccine website informed visitors that due to supply limitations, vaccination appointment availability is extremely limited across the state currently.