BLACKWOOD, NJ — Camden County has vaccinated roughly 15% of its adult population for COVID-19 as of Wednesday.

According to 2019 census data, there’s an estimated 442,655 people over 18 in the county.

“That's great news. Johnson & Johnson will certainly begin increasing that number substantially,” said Commissioner Director Lou Cappelli in reference to the one-shot vaccine’s FDA approval.

Cappelli spoke about a sense of New Jersey pride following the news that Kenilworth-based pharmaceutical giant, Merck, will help to boost the availability of the J&J vaccine by manufacturing shots.

“What's wonderful here is…the ability to face forward to the public and serve them as best as we can,” Cappelli continued during the COVID-19 virtual town hall from Camden County College’s Blackwood campus.

The county has had nearly 40,000 coronavirus cases and close to 1,100 deaths. Despite the initial slow allocation of vaccine doses, deliveries have picked up over the past few weeks.

As of Wednesday, 31,000 people have been vaccinated and another 70,000 have appointments in the books through October.

“Keep registering to be vaccinated because that list is going to be moved up,” Cappelli said.

The additional county figures were provided:

  • Average of 105 cases per day
  • 104 new cases confirmed Wednesday
  • Infection rate of 0.87
  • Positivity rate of 7.2%
  • 32 additional coronavirus deaths over the past month

Dr. Mark Condoluci, infectious disease physician at Jefferson Health - which with Cooper Hospital helped launch the county’s vaccine site at the college - clarified reports about the efficacy of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

While the company has acknowledged a 66% efficacy rate in preventing the coronavirus, Condoluci said it’s not so simple given the fact the vaccine was tested globally and with various variants.

“In the US, it did much, much better, so greater than about 75%,” Condoluci said. “When it comes down to it…if someone out there is asking, ‘If I were to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, what is my chance of dying from COVID if exposed to it? Zero. [Let] me say that again, you get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, you will not die from COVID. So basically, it takes this monster of a virus and makes it a common cold.”

Residents able to secure a vaccine appointment should stick with that location for their second shot (if the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine). They are also encouraged to cancel appointments at other sites in order to free up space for other patients.

On Wednesday, Gov. Phil Murphy shared that New Jersey has confirmed 2,957 more COVID-19 cases and 63 new deaths. There are now 710,046 cases and nearly 24,000 deaths (2,397 considered probable), with Thursday marking the one-year anniversary since the first confirmed case in the state.

“More than a year ago, we knew that we would have to prepare our state, and all of you, for the worst and hope for the best,” Murphy said at his weekly press conference in Trenton. “None of us could even imagine what it was we ultimately would be up against.”

To find a vaccine site available for Camden County residents click here.

To call for an appointment at Cooper’s recently-opened center at the Salvation Army Kroc Center, contact 856-225-6141. For information via the county’s COVID-19 Vaccination Center Hotline call (856) 549-0530.

Watch Wednesday’s press conference below:

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