The State of New Jersey Vaccine Rollout

Jake Ponte, staff writer

New Jersey is rolling out COVID-19 vaccines step-by-step to serve all adults who live, work, or are being educated in the state.

The State’s goal is to vaccinate 70 percent of the adult population – or 4.7 million adults – within six months. While the State’s current plan is highlighted below, the plan will continually be updated in response to the changing circumstances of the pandemic.

Recently, in the face of growing public dissatisfaction, Gov. Phil Murphy defended the state’s patchwork COVID-19 vaccine sign-up scheme as a tool still being perfected and repeated his calls for patience with the coronavirus immunization program in New Jersey.

Regardless of how much of the vaccine hits New Jersey, members of the public have protested about the lack of access to immunization pages, turning much of their frustration at the New Jersey Vaccine Scheduling System, the state’s online registry service. Via the portal, people were urged to sign up, but many found it almost difficult to obtain an appointment in the system.

The vaccination effort significantly exceeds past immunization efforts in scale and urgency, analysts agree, in New Jersey and nationally. But Murphy’s remarks appear somewhat at odds with previous claims he made regarding the state’s attempts, including a statewide vaccination initiative, to prepare its COVID-19 response.

In an effort to help ease the backlog, on Monday morning, January 25th, New Jersey opened a hotline to arrange vaccines for those who are registered (855-568-0545).

Less than 5% of the coronavirus immunization services currently running in New Jersey use the state registry system, with the vast majority leveraging existing business or government platforms or newly built portals unique to their area to operate their own sign-up process. As New Jersey residents excited to get vaccinated learn they can not conveniently make an appointment through the state platform, this uncoordinated registration system frustrates the public. Instead, the state scheduling scheme, which officials said has now pre-registered more than 2 million persons, is meant to warn people when they are ready and enable them to make an appointment at a nearby vaccine center, typically requiring extra calls, emails, or a separate location sign-up procedure.

Gov. Phil Murphy has put much of the blame on the insufficient availability of vaccinations the state has obtained from the federal government, which allocates doses and supervises shipping, for the poor rollout of inoculations. Many locations have been forced to postpone appointments or miss opening without adequate vaccinations.

Recently, at certain sites in New Jersey, CVS confirms it will start delivering vaccines starting on Feb. 11. The vaccinations will be given at 27 state-wide CVS centers, the company said, and next week New Jersey citizens will be able to start making appointments. But not all 27 sites, the company said, will be up and running next week.

All agree that New Jersey’s vaccine output can improve much like other states, but the goal of vaccinating the public remains the same.


The following categories are currently eligible for the vaccine in New Jersey: health professionals, particularly those working in pharmacies; residents and employees in long-term care, including those in jails and mental hospitals; first responders; people aged 65 and over, people aged 16-64 with significant medical conditions and smokers.