Difficulties of getting the COVID Vaccine in New Jersey

Both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have been distributed throughout New Jersey

Photo Credit: Photo via NJ.com under the Creative Commons License

Both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have been distributed throughout New Jersey

By: Emily Spillar, Co-Editor-In-Chief

Something that we all have been waiting for since March – a COVID vaccine. However, no one expected the difficulties of being able to receive the vaccine.

Not Enough Doses

New Jersey is a very populated state, with approximately 8.882 billion residents. New Jersey was one of the most infected states in the earlier months of COVID, which makes it quite obvious that everyone wants a vaccine to keep them safe. However, there is more demand than supply here in New Jersey. According to the CDC, 898,550 COVID vaccine doses have been distributed to New Jersey. Of that, more than half has been distributed already to various essential employees and high-risk residents.

These doses are not just coming to New Jersey, many have to remember. The whole country is in need of these doses just as much as New Jersey is. Due to this, it makes it harder to receive the doses for all residents.

Appointment Scheduling Difficulty

Many of experienced difficulty in scheduling their vaccine appointments. To schedule an appointment, you have to go through a lengthy survey to then find appointments at the end. This has angered many residents because they spend a lot of time completing the survey, just to find that there are no available appointments at the end. Throughout the survey, it determines your eligibility to receive the vaccine and how urgent you may need it. An anonymous resident, “I went through the survey for an hour, and then at the end it says that there are no appointments available until May.”

Head of the English Department at Colonia High School, Cynthia DiChiara noted, “Getting an appointment is a difficult process that most of our older parents can’t do. I hope these older people have someone to advocate for them. It took about a month for me to get an appointment for my parents.” DiChiara raises a major issue with the appointment process; 65+ community may not have the computer capabilities to register.

If you are not computer savvy, do not speak the language, or do not have the time to keep checking for open appointment then you probably aren’t going to get vaccinated readily despite all the commercials encouraging people to get vaccinated. DiChiara recommends the following when searching for an appointment: “be willing to travel and use social media to help with securing an appointment. There are Twitter and Facebook groups that can help.”

Distribution Phases

In the vaccine distributing process, there are phases that are followed. The vaccine was first administered to frontline healthcare workers. Following that was various essential employees and those who are high-risk. The list goes on about who is eligible to receive the vaccine at this time. It’s clear that the general public will not be able to receive the vaccine until a very later date. New Jersey aims to have the vaccine available to the general public by June or July.

Even though they have a lot of different categories of who are eligible on this list, it does not seem like they reached all those essential employees. Grocery store employees are not mentioned in these phases, and thrown at the end in either Phase 1B or 1C. This is frustrating to many of those employees because they worked throughout the whole pandemic and they are still not able to get vaccinated. Also, teachers have not been able to receive the vaccine yet, and they are expected to go back to school soon. For many, it’s frustrating to see those who have connections in higher places receiving the vaccine before those who are actually in need.

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