By: Joshua Gras, Writer / Follow South Jersey News Reporting Intern
On February 26, Governor Phil Murphy, along with White House COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force Chair Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith announced plans to tackle the equity disparity between communities who have been hit hardest by the pandemic and those who immediately received the most care.
Gov. Murphy hopes the second phase of the Community-Based Health Partnership for underserved communities will close this gap. Ten community-based vaccination sites will open up in the cities hit hardest by COVID-19. The five additional sites brought about by the second phase will be located in Camden, Pleasantville, Newark, Jersey City, and Orange – joining the community-based sites in Vineland, Trenton, Somerset, Elizabeth, and Paterson.
The number of deaths in the United States as a whole show how minority communities have been affected the most during this pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website shows this, saying that Black Americans are 1.9 times more likely to die than Caucasians, and Hispanic Americans are even more susceptible with a death rate of 2.3 times that of Caucasians.
“FEMA will continue to work alongside the state to ensure that everyone that wants a vaccine has the ability to receive it, FEMA Region 2 Acting Deputy Regional Administrator Dale McShine said.
One important aspect of these sites is that they are only open to the “members of the immediate community.” If, for example, you are from Atlantic City, you won’t be able to get a vaccine from the community-based site located in Camden.
The Department of Defense and FEMA will provide staffing and non-medical support respectively to these new sites. These new vaccination sites are expected to vaccinate 1,800 people each week over a two-week period with the goal of reaching 34,000 vaccinated New Jersey residents total.
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This article was produced by a Follow South Jersey news intern thanks to a grant provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through the New Jersey Health Initiatives program to create hyper-local news to meet the informational and health needs of the City of Bridgeton, N.J.