ROXBURY, NJ – Roxbury officials will try harder to help older residents, especially those without computers, who have questions about getting the COVID-19 vaccination, they promised Tuesday.

The issue was raised at the meeting of the Roxbury Mayor and Council by Roxbury Councilman Mark Crowley. He said he received several calls this week by two people – one being more than 100 years old – asking for help getting online to obtain information about being vaccinated.

“One of my concerns is how are we getting to the people that don’t have computers,” Crowley said. “Perhaps there’s something we can do especially, for senior citizens and those groups, to somehow get out to them.”

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After Crowley brought up the subject, several other members of the council said they too are being called by older residents asking the same question. Crowley noted that coronavirus-related restrictions on gatherings forced the township’s two seniors groups to stop meeting this year, something that’s exacerbating the problem.

“Their question to me was, ‘How do I register if I don’t have a computer,’” Crowley said. “It’s just something I think, in the next week or two, we need to address.”

Roxbury Councilwoman Jaki Albrecht, who also said she’s receiving calls for help, suggested the township health department create “a packet” that could be distributed in town, especially to housing developments that cater to older residents.

“I’d be willing to hand-deliver to, like, the Willow Walk apartments where there’s a whole bunch of seniors all in one place,” she said. “But I do know, like Councilman Crowley said, they’re concerned; they don’t know how to do this.”

Roxbury Mayor Bob DeFillippo said he will talk to township staff to see what can be done.

Picking Up the Telephone

During the meeting’s public comment portion, Succasunna resident Robert Kluska - who is a member of Roxbury Seniors - said the group maintains a list of members’ telephone numbers. “This might be a small method in which we can inform the memberships of what’s happening with the COVID shots,” he said.

DeFillippo said Roxbury Police Chief Marc Palanchi told him the police department also has “a good list” of seniors' phone numbers. “So, I’m pretty sure it won’t take us long to come up with a distribution plan,” he said. “These are all great ideas.”

State Sen. Anthony Bucco, who serves as Roxbury's township council, said he sent a text message to Gov. Phil Murphy inquiring what the state is doing to inform people without computers about vaccinations.

The first people eligible for the vaccination were healthcare personnel and long-term care residents. The next group was law enforcement, firefighters and other first responders and people 75 and older.

The next phase will include adults over 65 and people between 16 and 64 with medical conditions that increase the risk for severer COVID19, according to the state.

Although it's of no use to those without computers, the state maintains a vaccination registration page here.

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