N.J. residents ages 16 and up eligible for COVID-19 vaccine starting April 19

The Somerset County Department of Health’s homebound  COVID vaccination teams prepare for the first day of delivering J&J one-dose vaccines to residents unable to travel to a clinic.

Gov. Phil Murphy announced on Monday that all New Jersey residents ages 16 and older will be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine beginning April 19.

As of Monday morning, almost 1.8 million residents of the state had been fully vaccinated. Yet some people who already qualifiy for the vaccine are still truggling to get appointments.

The Murphy administration’s goal is to vaccinate 70 percent of the adult population, or about 4.7 million people, by June 30.

As of Monday, residents ages 55 and up became eligible for the vaccine. The following other residents are also eligible for vaccines now:

  • People 16 and older with intellectual and developmental disabilities
  • Higher education educators and staff
  • Librarians and library staff
  • Communications, IT and press
  • Real estate, building and home service workers
  • Retail financial institution workers
  • Sanitation workers
  • Laundry service workers
  • Utility workers

Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes said on Monday that about 30 vaccination sites are now open in the county. The county hosts two of the sites, one at the CURE Arena in Trenton and the other at Mercer County Community College in West Windsor. To receive a vaccinate at the county sites, you must register with the state’s vaccine scheduling system at https://covidvaccine.nj.gov or call 855-568-0545. You will be notified via email or phone when it is time for you to schedule an appointment.

On Monday, the Somerset County Department of Health sent vaccination teams to the homes of residents who are unable to travel to the county’s clinics or other providers to receive their COVID-19 vaccine for medical reasons or other reasons. The nurse-led teams are initially vaccinating homebound residents in Somerville, Raritan and Manville this week and will then move on to additional municipalities.

“We are thrilled to finally be receiving increased allocations of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine so we can continue our efforts to ensure Somerset County’s most vulnerable residents are protected against COVID,” said County CommissionerSara Sooy.  “We’ve been preparing for this day for two months and are looking forward to the continued expansion of our vaccination program as allotments increase in the coming weeks.”

The Somerset County Department of Health began compiling a list of homebound residents in February. About 550 residents are on the list. County officials are planning to visit 150 homes each week. The county is also partnering with the Community Visiting Nurses Association in Somerville and the Montgomery Department of Health to reach additional residents on the homebound vaccination waiting list.

Vaccinating the homebound is time-consuming because of travel times between homes, and the need for the nurse to wait 15 to 30 minutes after vaccination to respond in the unlikely event of a reaction to the vaccine. The teams’ routes are being set up by location to reduce travel time, with the early routes in the center of the county and then moving out towards the rest of the county.

Somerset County began holding special closed vaccination clinics for seniors and people with serious underlying health conditions in February and opened the senior citizen vaccination waiting list to the public in early March. Officials said that so far, more than 5,000 people have signed up for the list. Somerset County began holding mobile vaccination clinics based on the list in various communities including Somerville, Manville, Bound Brook, North Plainfield, and Raritan Borough.

To place a Somerset County resident on the homebound or senior citizen waiting lists, call the Somerset County COVID Hotline at (908) 231-7155 or visit the county website.