NEW JERSEY -- New Jersey has begun its program for administering the COVID-19 vaccine. The state currently has in place a two-phase plan to administer the vaccine to the general population. Stage 1A that provides vaccine access to Health Care workers and Long-Term Care residents is currently in effect as of December 15. The overall goal is to have the vaccine reach a majority of the population by the Spring of 2021. (Source: New Jersey Office of Emergency Medical Services.)

Healthcare workers, including paid and volunteer EMTs, are now eligible to get COVID-19 vaccinations. To see the complete list of vaccination sites by county, as reported by NJDOH, click here.

Below are some frequently asked questions about New Jersey’s vaccine program:

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How did New Jersey determine the Phased Approach?
New Jersey’s phased approach is informed by the CDC, the New Jersey Department of Health COVID-19 Professional Advisory Committee, the Coronavirus Task Force (CTF), and extensive stakeholder engagement.

When does Phase 1A start in New Jersey?
COVID-19 vaccinations began in New Jersey on December 15, 2020.

When will New Jersey change phases?
Specific dates are not known at this time. Factors like supply of vaccine, public confidence and uptake, time, and federal guidance will inform data-driven decisions. Gov. Phil Murphy and State Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli will announce when New Jersey changes phases. There are approximately 650,000 people eligible for Phase 1A, so it may be weeks before the state moves to Phase 1B.

Who can get vaccinated during Phase 1A?
During Phase 1A, New Jersey will prioritize those at highest risk of exposure to enter New Jersey’s Phased Approach to COVID-19 Vaccination: Phase 1A which includes Healthcare Workers and Long-Term Care Residents. As Phase 1A progresses, non-hospital-based healthcare personnel and residents of other long-term care settings will also become eligible.

How do I prove that I am eligible for vaccination?
You are eligible if you live, work, or are being educated in New Jersey and can self-identify as meeting the criteria for the current sub-phase. No professional nor medical documentation is required.

Why does Phase 1A include healthcare personnel and long-term care residents?

  1. Health care settings in general can be high-risk locations for SARS-CoV-2 exposure and transmission.
  2. Early protection of health care personnel is critical to preserve capacity to care for patients with COVID-19 or other illnesses.
  3. Long-term care facility residents, because of their age, high rates of underlying medical conditions, and congregate living situation, are at high risk for infection and severe illness from COVID-19.

Who are “healthcare personnel” in Phase 1A?
Healthcare personnel (both paid and unpaid) in health care settings who have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials:

  • Doctors, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, and other licensed healthcare professionals.
  • Staff at health care facilities, including receptionists, janitors, mortuary services, laboratory technicians.
  • Unpaid workers (interns, trainees, volunteers, essential caregivers, community health workers, EMS paramedics, funeral staff, and autopsy workers
  • Other paid or unpaid people who work in a healthcare setting, who may have direct or indirect contact with infectious persons or materials, and who cannot work from home.

What are “healthcare settings” in Phase 1A?
For COVID-19 vaccination, any venue where healthcare occurs is a healthcare setting. Examples include acute, pediatric, and behavioral health hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers, health facilities, rehabs clinic-based, home-based, and long-term care settings and other settings.

Where can healthcare personnel get vaccinated?
New Jersey is developing an extensive network of vaccination sites that will be open to all healthcare workers. By early January, the vaccination sites network will include acute care hospitals, large state-coordinated mega sites, county/local sites, retail pharmacies and other medical locations.

How can a healthcare worker schedule an appointment to be vaccinated?
New Jersey will launch a statewide vaccine scheduling system to help consumers connect with identified nearby points of dispensing sites. NJDOH hopes to be able to serve all healthcare workers who wish to be vaccinated by the end of January 2021, pending vaccine availability.

Who are “long-term care residents” in Phase 1A?
Long-term care residents are adults who reside in facilities that provide a range of services, including medical and personal care, to persons who are unable to live independently.

What are “long-term care settings” in Phase 1A?
Facilities that provide a range of services, including skilled nursing facilities, veteran’s homes, assisted living facilities, continuing care retirement communities, and personal care homes.

What data will I need to share to be vaccinated?
NJIIS will securely store the vaccine recipient’s name, address, date of birth, race, ethnicity, and gender. These will be requested during pre-registration and/or on-site. Information about the vaccine provider, substance, and administration will be collected from the POD personnel.

Depending on the POD and its scheduling process, New Jerseyeans can also expect to provide additional demographic and occupational data to ensure equitable and efficient scheduling of vaccinations and medical screening questions will be asked to assess eligibility under the EUA and ACIP recommendations specific to the vaccine product offered at the point of dispensing.

Stay up-to-date; learn the latest from the New Jersey Department of Health: https://www.state.nj.us/health/cd/topics/ncov.shtml. Read the latest from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/index.html.