OCHD details the current phases & how to make an appointment in Ocean County
(Toms River) – The Ocean County COVID-19 vaccine distribution clinic at the RWJ Barnabas Healthcare Arena is usually filled with the sounds of squeaky sneakers on the gym floor and fans cheering from the stands. These days the cheers have been replaced with quiet smiles hidden under masks as healthcare workers roll-up their sleeves for their COVID-19 vaccine. In just 8 days of operation more than 2,000 people have received vaccinations.
“We are off to a fast start as expected and the process has been smooth, efficient and safe,” details Daniel Regenye, Ocean County Health Department Public Health Coordinator/Health Officer. Currently it’s a 6 day operation with clinics Monday through Saturday as we continue providing those individuals eligible to receive the vaccine in the rollout plans first phase.”
But when is it your turn to receive the vaccine?
The state is currently in Phase 1A of the distribution process which includes healthcare personnel serving in healthcare settings who have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials. With 650,000 eligible Phase1A workers in New Jersey it may still be several weeks before there is a change to Phase 1B. Decisions about priority groups and how the doses will be spread across the state may change based on changes in vaccine supply and public demand. The following includes the phases of the NJ Vaccine Distribution Plan:
• Phase 1B of vaccination will include teachers, frontline essential workers and individuals over 75.
• Phase 1C will include other essential workers, adults 65-74, and persons aged 18-64 with medical conditions that increase the risk for severe COVID-19.
• Following these phases, the general public (Phase 2) will be eligible for vaccination.
“We are aware that there is some misinformation out there and the messaging can be a little confusing and overwhelming for people to process. That’s why we are urging everyone to visit the OCHD website and the OCHD social media platforms for the latest reliable news and updates regarding phase changes and clinic information,” said Ocean County Board of Commissioners Deputy Director Gerry P. Little, liaison to the Ocean County Board of Health. “Once more vaccine becomes available the OCHD expects to provide additional clinics throughout the entire county.”
The Ocean County COVID-19 clinic is vaccinating more than 300 people daily but could vaccinate more if, and when, overall increases in vaccine become available through the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH). A second shipment of 3,000 doses was received on January 5 which will keep the clinic at full operation for the coming weeks.
Sen. Robert Singer, Vice-Chairman for the Ocean County Board of Health announced at the last board meeting, held on Wednesday, January 6, 2021, the need to continue receiving an adequate supply to meet the demand for vaccine here in Ocean County. That would result in more people getting the inoculations quicker – especially our seniors and high-risk residents – and speeding up the phasing process.
“We have the capacity to vaccinate 1,500 to 2,000 people a day if we had the additional doses,” Regenye added. “In the meantime, the OCHD continues to ask for people’s patience and to keep up following all the crucial safety measures. We’ve come so far in this pandemic, and while we are now seeing more light at the end of the tunnel with the new vaccine, we just can’t dismiss this second wave and allow it to overwhelm our healthcare system that’s already been stretched so far and thin.”
The OCHD wants to remind those that meet the Phase 1A criteria that appointments are quickly being booked for the rest of the month at the Ocean County COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the RWJ Barnabas Healthcare Arena at Toms River High School North. Phase 1A recipients can visit www.ochd.org for new clinic hours & appointment availability. Appointments for any other residents that fall into subsequent (1B, 1C & 2) phases are not available at this time.
“Some of the confusing information that’s out there has to do with the second dose of the vaccine,” added Dr. Mukesh Roy, OCHD Public Health Planner. “Many people are under the impression that the second dose must be administered within a week after the 28 days of the first dose. In actuality, the second dose is a booster shot, and can be scheduled to be received several weeks or even a few months after the 28 days of the initial dose. Residents shouldn’t be concerned about limited availability as more appointments will be scheduled and opened up in the near future.
The following is a list of New Jersey’s 6 MEGA VACCINATION SITES located throughout the entire state:
To pre-register for an appointment at ONE OF THE 6 MEGA SITES ONLY please visit: https://covidvaccine.nj.gov/ For additional information on the NJ vaccine distribution plans please visit: https://covid19.nj.gov/pages/vaccine
To learn more about the Ocean County COVID-19 vaccination clinic and making an appointment please visit www.ochd.org. You can also follow the Ocean County Health Department on our Facebook page or Twitter @OCpublichealth. The OCHD is also providing a general COVID-19 Information Call Hot Line for residents and clinicians to answer questions regarding the coronavirus. The number is 732-341-9700 ext. 7411.