By: Michael Mandarino, Follow South Jersey Managing Editor
TRENTON, N.J. — On Friday, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced that the state will open six “mega-sites” for COVID-19 vaccinations in early January.
The state will open three “mega-sites” in each half of the state. South Jersey’s vaccination hubs will be located at Rowan College of South Jersey’s Gloucester campus in Sewell, the Atlantic City Convention Center in Atlantic City, and the Moorestown Mall in Moorestown.
Gov. Murphy announced the news at his regularly-scheduled coronavirus briefing on Friday afternoon.
“These sites will be in position to vaccinate front-line health care workers, who are part of the so-called ‘1A’ category,” Gov. Murphy said. “We anticipate them also being able to accommodate the ‘1B’ category of essential workers before moving to the ‘1C’ category of adults over the age of 65 and those with high-risk medical conditions. With each successive wave, we will get closer to being able to open our vaccination sites to the general public.”
According to New Jersey Department of Health commissioner Judy Persichilli, the state’s new “mega-sites” will help vaccinate more than 2,400 individuals per day. The ‘1A,’ ‘1B,’ and ‘1C’ categories of people Gov. Murphy alluded to will receive priority in receiving vaccines. Once the state has successfully vaccinated all community members in those categories, it will release more information about how members of the general public can get vaccinated.
In addition to New Jersey’s six “mega-sites,” the state is currently working towards opening more than 200 smaller vaccination sites across the state. These smaller, so-called “satellite” vaccination sites will be located at hospitals, chain pharmacies, urgent care centers, other federally-qualified health centers, and other localized sites.
The governor said that these centers will be opened in conjunction with local health departments, and Persichilli said that any vaccine providers will have to sign an agreement with the CDC and register with the New Jersey immunization information system, among other requirements, in order to be able to distribute vaccines.
Gov. Murphy also said that New Jersey is making “final preparations” for vaccinations at long-term health care facilities. The state has partnered with pharmacy chains CVS and Walgreens to provide “end-to-end management” of long-term health care facilities’ vaccinations. Through this partnership, both residents and staffers at long-term care facilities can begin receiving COVID-19 vaccines on December 28.
Persichilli reiterated New Jersey’s current goal of vaccinating 70% of its adult population — or 4.7 million people — within six months. As of Friday, more than 2,100 healthcare workers had received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
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