CLARK, NJ – Thursday morning brought with it a rush of phone calls, emails and messages to health care providers and public offices as people sought an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine. Governor Murphy’s announcement on Wednesday expanding the availability of vaccinations to anyone 65 and older and others considered high risk by the CDC, left many scrambling to get an appointment.
The wider distribution guidelines for the vaccine might have been welcome news to many residents as Clark’s cases of COVID-19 have been sharply increasing over the last two weeks. Unfortunately many did not get to make an appointment today.
“I was unable to sign up for the vaccine online,” said one Clark senior citizen. “I answered the health questions and based on my medications, it said I had to see my PCP for vaccination. I called them today but cannot get through, so I left a message and am now waiting.”
Another senior resident said she met the same frustration on the county's newly opened registration page. "The Union County site, said there are no more appointments available at this time."
Clark’s Health Office was flooded with requests too. In response Health Officer Nancy Raymond shared some information with the public. In her letter Raymond said the state’s entire vaccination process and call center are not fully established just yet. She also said that there are discussions under way about distributing the vaccine through senior centers, but nothing is finalized.
Raymond encouraged those interested in getting the vaccine to register for it at www.covid19.nj.gov
“I realize this is a tremendous hardship on everyone who wants to resume their regular activities and visit with friends and family,” said Raymond in her letter.
She closed her statement, asking residents to be patient and diligent about socially distancing, wearing masks, washing hands and not staying in situation that feel uncomfortable.
The full text of Raymond’s letter is here:
As most of us are aware, yesterday, January 13, 2021, New Jersey Health Commissioner Persichilli expanded the groups who are now eligible to receive the COVID 19 vaccine to include those persons ages 65 and older and persons age 16-64 with high risk medical conditions.
Unfortunately, the planning to distribute the vaccine to multiple sites throughout New Jersey, the staffing of sites and the registration process has not been firmly established by the State. The set up of a State-wide call center is in progress.
The Clark Health Department advises residents to register for the vaccine at www.covid19.nj.gov, reach out to their own medical provider, or seek the vaccine from other municipalities, sources and/or counties.
Plans to distribute the vaccine to senior centers, possible mobile distribution etc. are being discussed, but are not finalized.
I realize this is a tremendous hardship on everyone who wants to resume their regular activities and visit with friends and family.
I can only ask for your continued patience and diligence in social distancing, hand washing and wearing of face coverings. As always, if you are uncomfortable in a particular environment, do what is best and safe for you and remove yourself from the situation.
I will provide updates as I receive additional information.
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