TRENTON, NJ -- Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes announced on Friday that the County will be opening a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at CURE Insurance Arena in partnership with Capital Health, which will manage the site. A soft opening is planned for next week. 

Hughes said state officials anticipate that the federal government soon will be releasing increased amounts of vaccine, but the time frame is uncertain.

“We are committed to doing everything we can to help get eligible people vaccinated as quickly as possible,” Hughes said. “We had a successful partnership with Capital Health during the COVID-19 testing program we established last spring, and I can’t think of a more fitting partner for this next phase of the pandemic response – the vaccination phase.” 

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Like other vaccination locations, the arena site will be for those eligible under the state’s phasing plan that is designed to ensure those most at risk are prioritized.  

Governor Phil Murphy recently expanded vaccine eligibility to individuals ages 65 years and older and those between the ages of 16-64 with medical conditions (defined by the CDC) that increase the risk of severe illness from the virus.  Individuals currently eligible also include: front-line health care workers, residents and staff of long-term and congregate facilities in Phase 1A, and sworn law enforcement personnel, firefighters and other first responders in Phase 1B. 

An announcement by the state regarding the remainder of essential workers and individuals at high risk who will be eligible under Phase 1B and Phase 1C will be forthcoming.  

“Capital Health has been taking an organized approach to meet the needs of the community during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Louis F. D’Amelio, M.D., FACS, Vice President Clinical Performance at Capital Health. “As health care providers, we are proud to partner with Mercer County and the CURE Arena to administer vaccines in the upcoming weeks."

“We are excited to get started because we know that every vaccine we administer will help save a life and is a step closer to ensuring community protection against COVID-19. At this time, opening date of the center is dependent on supply of the vaccine and coordination of registration platforms,” D’Amelio added. "When we do get vaccine, we’ll make sure that every single dose gets put in the arm of someone who wants it."

Mercer County also is working on opening a vaccination site at Mercer County Community College (MCCC) that would be managed by the County Health Officers Association and utilize all the resources and staffing available from the municipal and county health offices, as well as MCCC nursing students. The CURE Insurance Arena and MCCC locations will supplement, not replace, smaller vaccination sites including those currently being operated by municipal health departments and other health care facilities in Mercer County.

The in-store pharmacies at 39 Shoprite grocery stores, including the ones located in Hamilton Marketplace at 130 Marketplace Blvd. in Hamilton and at 2555 Pennington Road in Pennington, also are providing vaccines.  The vaccines are provided through ShopRite stores partnered with the state of New Jersey, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Those wishing to receive a vaccine should schedule an appointment HERE or download the Shoprite app.

Residents are encouraged to pre-register on the State's vaccine website, http://covidvaccine.nj.gov. Those who have pre-registered will be notified when they are eligible to make a vaccination appointment. Appointments currently are required at all vaccination sites. State officials have said they expect to have a consumer call center up and running soon to assist people without Internet access in scheduling appointments, and to help answer general inquiries and questions. 

For more information on the CURE Insurance Arena and MCCC vaccination sites, email publichealth@mercercounty.org.

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