Šistockphoto.com/Udom Pinyo

A large number of residents in NJ become eligible for their COVID-19 vaccines on Monday, March 29th, but in addition to those which include members of the clergy, postal employees and retail workers, a host of new categories will be eligible starting just a week later on April 5th. Governor Murphy announced today at a press conference that residents over age 55, individuals over 16 who have intellectual and developmental disabilities, librarians, staff and educators at higher learning spots like colleges and universities, sanitation workers, utility workers, construction workers and more will be eligible.

Due to an influx of vaccine doses coming from the federal government allotment, in addition to doses our state was slated to receive, starting next week it is estimated NJ will get 20% more doses than we got the week prior. This makes it easier to open up another group for eligibility. And while Murphy sounded encouraged by this step in the right direction, he did acknowledge that there is still a supply and demand imbalance, meaning that while groups are opening up, some people are still having trouble getting those coveted appointments.

The government is also sending in FEMA to NJIT’s Newark campus on Monday to set up a federally run vaccination center that will be able to administer 6,000 doses a day, separate from the doses that the state is already getting. These vaccinations are targeted towards those in at-risk populations who are struggling with vaccine equity.

The April 5th eligibility group also includes employees that work in laundromats and dry-cleaning businesses, plumbers, electricians, anyone at a retail financial centers like banks, members of the media and more. Murphy said that he and his wife were both part of this group, qualifying for being 55 and up, and would go through the same channels as everyone else in order to receive their vaccination appointments.

To date NJ has administered 3,798,523 doses, with 2,515,767 people receiving at least one dose and 1,357,829 people who are fully vaccinated, either from receiving two doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson shot.