More than 4 million people in New Jersey are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, but many still have questions about how to get the vaccine, where they stand on the list and when they will receive it. The state’s goal is to vaccinate 70% of the adult population, or 4.7 million adults, within six months.
How do I get the vaccine and schedule an appointment?
• Pre-register to be notified when you are eligible to schedule an appointment with the New Jersey Vaccine Scheduling System at covidvaccine.nj.gov.
• To make an appointment directly with locations distributing the vaccine, visit covid19.nj.gov/pages/covid-19-vaccine-locations-for-eligible-recipients.
When will I be eligible to get the vaccine?
When Gov. Phil Murphy initially announced a statewide COVID-19 vaccination plan in October, before vaccines had even been approved or made available, he emphasized the need for equitable distribution around the state.
The state later laid out a phased plan, with Phase 1A including frontline health care workers and residents and staff at long-term care centers. Police and fire professionals and first responders were originally in Phase 1B but were re-prioritized based on regular potential exposure to the coronavirus.
While technically New Jersey remains in Phases 1A and 1B of its vaccination strategy, just last week, the governor said the state was expanding those eligible to residents 65 and older and people between the ages of 16 and 64 if they have a medical condition deemed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to increase the risk of severe illness from the coronavirus.
As more vaccines become available and additional vaccination sites are developed, state officials have made it clear it is not necessary to vaccinate all individuals in one phase before initiating the next phase. The phases may in fact overlap.
According to Murphy, the decisions will be based largely on increased deliveries of vaccines, as the federal government will no longer be holding back doses.
The best course of action is to register as soon as possible. You will be notified when you are eligible.
For the latest on phases and whether you’re eligible, visit the state's COVID-19 information page.
Will I be charged for the vaccine if I don't have insurance?
No. COVID-19 vaccines will be made available to individuals regardless of insurance coverage status. Individuals won't pay coinsurance, deductibles or copayments. Providers that administer vaccinations to patients without health insurance or whose insurance does not provide coverage of vaccination administration fees may not charge enrollees directly for any vaccine administration costs.
Can a COVID-19 vaccination make me sick?
While the vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19, there are some possible side effects.
After getting a COVID-19 vaccine, will I test positive for COVID-19 on a viral test?
None of the approved vaccines or any currently in development can cause you to test positive on viral tests, used to determine if you have a current infection. Because the vaccine results in the body developing an immune response, there is a possibility you may test positive on some antibody tests.
Should I get a vaccine if I've already had COVID-19 and recovered?
Yes, because it is possible you can be re-infected.
Should I get a vaccine if I currently have COVID-19?
You should wait until after you have fully recovered from COVID-19 before getting the vaccine.
Will the vaccine protect me from getting sick with COVID-19?
With the vaccine, your immune system learns how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine were found to be 95% effective.
What are the possible side effects of the vaccine?
Some side effects such as pain and swelling at the site of the vaccination are normal, as is feeling like you have the flu, but it should only last for a few days.
What should I do if the side effects do not go away?
Contact your doctor if the redness or tenderness at the site of the vaccination increases after 24 hours or if you become worried about other side effects that do not seem to be going away. If you experience an allergic reaction after leaving the vaccination site, seek immediate medical care.
How many shots of the COVID-19 vaccination do I need?
Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines need two shots to be effective. The third vaccine from Johnson & Johnson, currently in Phase 3 clinical trials, uses only one shot. For the Pfizer vaccine, you should get a second shot three weeks (or 21 days) after your first shot. For the Moderna vaccine, you should get a second shot one month (or 28 days) after your first shot. Anyone receiving the vaccines in New Jersey will automatically be opted into the state’s immunization tracking system and will be notified when it is time to get a second dose.
Do I still need to wear a mask after receiving two doses of the vaccine?
Yes. The CDC recommends that everyone wear a mask during the pandemic until herd immunity is reached. More information is needed to determine the extent of protection the vaccines provide before the decision is made to change the recommendations in place to slow the spread of the virus.
Do I need a vaccine if I have been following COVID-19 protocols including social distancing and wearing a mask?
Yes. The vaccine works with your immune system so your body can fight the virus if you are exposed. Wearing a mask and staying at least 6 feet away from others helps reduce your chance of spreading the virus to others or being exposed to it.
Here's where you can get vaccinated in South Jersey
The number of COVID-19 vaccination sites across the state has grown to 109 as of Friday. Below is a list of sites for which qualified residents of Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland and southern Ocean counties can make appointments.
AtlantiCare Health Services FQHC, 1401 Atlantic Ave., Suite 2800, Atlantic City
Atlantic Cape Community College, 5100 Black Horse Pike, Mays Landing
MediLink RxCare Hammonton, 44 S. White Horse Pike, Hammonton
ShopRite Pharmacy, 23 Bethel Road, Somers Point
ShopRite Pharmacy, 616 White Horse Pike, Absecon
Southern Jersey Family Medical Centers Atlantic City, 1301 Atlantic Ave., Atlantic City
Southern Jersey Family Medical Centers English Creek, 3003 English Creek Ave., Unit C6, Egg Harbor Township
Southern Jersey Family Medical Centers Hammonton, 860 S. White Horse Pike, Hammonton
Southern Jersey Family Medical Centers Merle Pavilion, 932 S. Main St., Pleasantville
CAPE MAY COUNTY
Cape May County Department of Health, 6 Moore Road, DN 601, Cape May Court House
ShopRite Pharmacy of Rio Grande, 1700 Route 47 South, Rio Grande
ShopRite Pharmacy 603, 4 W. Roosevelt Blvd., Marmora
Vineland Health Department, 640 E. Wood St., Vineland
Cumberland County Department of Health, 309 Buck St., Millville
ShopRite Pharmacy, 2130 N. Second St., Millville
ShopRite Pharmacy, 1000 N. Pearl St., Bridgeton
Ocean Health Initiatives, 798 Route 539, Little Egg Harbor Township
ShopRite Pharmacy, 297 Route 72, Manahawkin
WHERE CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION?
For more information on the vaccine program, visit covid19.nj.gov/pages/vaccine or call the state Department of Health at 800-962-125.