Beginning Thursday, New Jersey will expand COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to people age 65 and older and people 16 to 64 with certain chronic medical conditions, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), that increase the risk of severe illness from the virus, Gov. Phil Murphy announced today.
Those conditions include cancer, chronic kidney disease, COPD, Down syndrome, heart conditions, obesity and severe obesity, sickle cell disease, smoking and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Individuals who are pregnant and those in an immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant are also eligible but should follow CDC guidance and first discuss vaccination with their medical provider before receiving the vaccine, state officials said. For more information on CDC criteria for eligibility, click here.
“Expanding access to vaccine to individuals in these categories is critical as we know they are at greater risk for severe COVID-19 illness and death,” said Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “Eighty percent of COVID-19 deaths in New Jersey have been among those 65 and older and overall 67 percent of deaths had one or more underlying conditions reported.”
In addition to paid and unpaid health care workers in Phase 1A, these two groups mark the expansion of eligible residents in Phase 1B, which recently opened to include sworn law enforcement and fire professionals. For details on who is eligible for vaccination under different phases, click here.
“If you have preregistered at our vaccine website, and are now eligible, you should soon be receiving your email that it is your time to make an appointment at a site near you to get your first vaccine dose,” Gov. Murphy said. The state’s vaccine website, where you can preregister and find a list of vaccination sites statewide, is http://covid19.nj.gov/vaccine.
Vaccination sites are not able to accommodate walk-ups at this time, Persichilli said. Individuals must have an appointment. As of mid-morning today, more than 1.2 million people had preregistered on the state’s website to receive a COVID-19 vaccination, according to state officials.