Beginning April 5, Gov. Phil Murphy announced that those 55 to 64 years old, as well as those over 16 with developmental disabilities and thousands of employees, would be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.
A variety of new job types will now be available as a result of the broad change. They are as follows:
- Utility employees include those who work in the electrical, natural gas, nuclear, and water supply industries, as well as those who work in mobile, cable, and cellular service.
- Real estate, construction, and home services are all available. Plumbers, electricians, and HVAC technicians, as well as construction staff, code officers, property managers, and maintenance workers, are all included.
- IT staff, engineers, technicians, and members of the press are all involved in communications.
- Laundry facilities, including laundromat and dry cleaner employees
- Bank tellers and check cashers are examples of customer-facing financial institutions.
- Sanitation, which includes employees who disinfect and clean all critical buildings and modes of transportation; community sanitation workers; and residential, commercial, and industrial solid and hazardous waste disposal.
- Educators and support workers in higher education
- Librarians and other support personnel
- Instructors and staff in higher education
- Librarians and librarians’ assistants
- Information and communication technology (ICT)
- Staff in the real estate, construction, and home services industries
- Those who work in a retail financial institution, such as a bank teller,
- Staff in the sanitation industry
- Staff in the laundry
- Staff in the utility sector
Although the number of vaccines distributed from the federal stockpile has gradually risen, Murphy has predicted a “quantum leap” in early April to help meet demand.
On Friday, he also declared that on May 1, anyone 16 or older would be eligible for a vaccine. Vaccines for children have not yet been licensed.
Murphy said Friday after visiting a vaccine site at Kean University in Union County, “We want a date that everybody can look forward to.”
According to the president of one of the state’s main advocacy organizations, the decision to open eligibility to all developmentally disabled individuals would benefit those who live at home with caregivers.
Mercedes Witowsky, executive director of the New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities, said, “It’s a big step towards making sure some of the most disadvantaged in this state are safe.”
For more than two months, New Jersey has restricted vaccine coverage to those 65 and older, despite neighboring states lowering their eligibility age.
This week, New York started allowing people aged 50 and up to make appointments.
In Connecticut, those aged 45 and up are eligible to receive the vaccine. On April 5, when appointments for those 16 and up become eligible, it will also extend eligibility to anyone.
As it continues to ramp up delivery to more than 600 locations, New Jersey will receive nearly half a million COVID-19 vaccine doses next week, the most the state has received in a week.
Although all states began the vaccine rollout by immunizing health care staff and nursing home residents first, New York and Connecticut began scheduling elderly appointments in January, starting with the most vulnerable — those 75 and older.
Instead, on Jan. 14, Murphy extended eligibility to an unprecedented 4 million people in one day: those 65 and older, those with underlying disabilities, and smokers — a move that resulted in a huge backlog.
Seniors, who account for 80% of COVID deaths in New Jersey, were forced to compete for a small supply of the world’s most desired commodity with younger, more tech-savvy residents.
When Murphy, 63, and his wife, Tammy, 55, become qualified on April 5, they intend to sign up for an appointment.
Since the launch started in mid-December, nearly 3.8 million doses have been administered in New Jersey. A total of 1.4 million people in New Jersey have been completely vaccinated.
By late spring or early summer, Murphy hopes to get 70 percent of the state’s adult population — 4.7 million people — fully vaccinated.
A variety of job groups, including those in the food industry, elder care, warehousing, postal, clergy, hospitality, and the judicial system, will become eligible on Monday.