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COURT HOUSE – As Covid cases continue rising, the vaccination program has begun, but the rollout is slower than state officials would like. 

According to state data, just over 200,000 individuals have been vaccinated in New Jersey since the first one on Dec. 15. With the state's goal of administering the vaccine to 70% of the adult population in six monthsroughly 4.7 million individualsthe pace of vaccinations will have to be almost four times what it currently is.  

Gov. Phil Murphy says that the state has a greater capacity to administer the vaccine, claiming that the problem is a slower-than-expected distribution of sufficient doses to the state.  

Registration Site Goes Live 

The state opened an online registration portal (https://covidvaccine.nj.gov/) to guide residents through the process. It takes about 10 minutes and requires responses to a series of demographic, job-related and health questions, which help establish an individual’s position in the state’s phased priority list. Once on the list, a confirmation email will explain the process by which a registered individual will be notified when they can schedule an appointment for vaccination. The state hopes to add an appointment scheduling function to the same website. 

Who Pays? What if I Don’t Have Insurance? 

Vaccine doses are paid for with U. S. taxpayer dollars and will be given at no cost to the recipient. Vaccine providers may charge an administration fee to be paid by the patient’s insurance or, for those without insurance, by the Provider Relief Fund.  

Who Gets the Vaccine First? 

New Jersey’s COVID vaccination plan spells out a series of priority groupings for individuals seeking to be vaccinated.  

Currently, the priority is for frontline health care workers, law enforcement and fire professionals, along with long-term care center residents and staff. This priority list will expand as doses become available to the state. Those registered through the state online system will be notified when they are eligible for the vaccine. 

Where Will I Go to be Vaccinated? 

Currently, Cape May County has three satellite sites where eligible residents can be vaccinated, which are the county's Health Department, on Moore Road, in Court House, and the county’s two ShopRite pharmacies, in Rio Grande and Marmora.  

The state is also opening up six vaccination mega sites, the closest being the Atlantic City Convention Center. Two sites, at Rowan College of South Jersey, in Deptford, and in Morris County, are currently open, with the others to follow. 

Should I Get Vaccinated if I Have Already Had Covid? 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that those who have previously been infected with the virus be vaccinated.  

Will Children be Vaccinated? 

The two vaccines that have received the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) emergency use authorization are not approved for children. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is intended for those 16 and older, and Moderna's vaccine is designated for those 18 and older.  

Some vaccine developers have begun enrolling children as young as 12 in clinical trials, but as of now, no vaccine has been tested and approved for children. 

What if I am Pregnant? 

Extensive research on the vaccines' safety for pregnant or breastfeeding women is not available, as of Jan. 11.  

The Mayo Clinic recommends that women who may be pregnant or breastfeeding, and otherwise fall into a group for whom the vaccine is recommended, speak with their medical practitioner about safety risks. 

What are the Side Effects? 

The CDC says those receiving the vaccine may experience mild side effects after a first or second dose, which can include redness where the shot was given, muscle pain, fatigue and a headache. 

Those with a history of allergic reactions to medications should consult with their medical professional before seeking a vaccination. 

Those who experience adverse reactions and are still advised to get the vaccine should be monitored for 30 minutes after receiving the vaccine. 

To contact Vince Conti, email vconti@cmcherald.com. 

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