With the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of Johnson and Johnson’s one-shot COVID-19 vaccine this weekend, the Camden County Health Department anticipates receiving 6,000 doses of the new vaccine this week. The Board of Commissioners will immediately begin contacting patients who are scheduled to receive the vaccine in the late spring, summer and fall months in an effort to reschedule their appointments and see them right away.
Camden County currently operates a vaccination site in partnership with Cooper University Health Care and Jefferson Health-New Jersey at Camden County College in Blackwood. The Johnson and Johnson vaccine allocation will increase the operational capacity of the site that has already processed more than 31,000 vaccine appointments and has more than 75,000 additional appointments booked into the fall.
“This is a significant development that dramatically improves and enhances our vaccination toolkit, adding a third vaccine option and offering protection to residents without requiring a second, follow-up visit,” said County Commissioner Director Louis Cappelli, Jr. “This vaccine has been proven in clinical trials to dramatically reduce the likelihood of moderate or severe illness caused by the virus. Getting this additional protection into our community will rapidly advance our vaccination rollout and get us closer to herd immunity.”
A global study of the new vaccine found that it was effective in preventing moderate and severe disease, but 85 percent effective in preventing hospitalization and death from COVID-19. Unlike the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines already available, the new vaccine does not require a second dose in order to offer full protection. Furthermore, the new vaccine is easier to store and maintain than its counterparts and requires no observation period after vaccination.
Brian Sweeney, President and COO of Jefferson Health – New Jersey talked about the importance of adding a new vaccine to the clinic.
“The availability of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine provides a third weapon in the battle against COVID-19. Our goal is to use these 6,000 J&J single-dose vaccines to vaccinate as many seniors, members of vulnerable populations, daycare workers and teachers, as possible, in accordance with state criteria,” Sweeney said. “If you have the opportunity to receive this single-dose vaccine, I encourage you to do so. According to Infectious Diseases experts, ‘the best vaccine is the one you can get the soonest.’”
The vaccination clinic will be one of several outlets for this new vaccine as the county Health Department develops a plan to reach individuals that may not have the ability to travel to the site.
“We also want to get this vaccine into the arms of home bound residents, hard to reach residents and individuals in vulnerable populations,” Cappelli said. “We will be working closely with local officials, the Rutgers School of Nursing and our healthcare partners to reach these folks.”
The Camden County Vaccination Clinic remains open to those with appointments only, Monday through Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Appointments are available for eligible residents at camdencountyvaccine.com.
Vaccine eligibility is determined by the Governor. Those currently eligible for vaccination include:
- Persons aged 65 and older
- Persons aged 16 to 64 years old, who have at least one of the following chronic medical conditions that poses high-risk for severe COVID-19:
- Chronic kidney disease
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Down syndrome
- Heart conditions (including heart failure, coronary artery disease, and cardiomyopathy)
- Obesity (BMI greater than 30)
- Sickle cell disease
- Type-2 diabetes
- Immunocompromised due to organ transplant (talk to your doctor)
- Pregnancy (talk to your doctor)
Beginning Monday, March 15, the following categories are eligible for vaccination:
- Educators, including support staff, in pre-K through 12th grade settings
- Childcare workers in licensed and registered settings
- Public and local transportation workers, including bus, taxi, ride share, and airport employees; NJ TRANSIT workers; and Motor Vehicle Commission staff
- Public safety workers who are not sworn law enforcement or fire professionals, including probation officers and fire safety inspectors;
- Migrant farm workers
- Members of tribal communities
- Individuals experiencing homelessness and those living in shelters, including domestic violence shelters.
Additionally, beginning on Monday, March 29, frontline essential workers in the following categories are also eligible for vaccination:
- Food production, agriculture, and food distribution
- Eldercare and support
- Warehousing and logistics
- Social services support staff
- Elections personnel
- Medical supply chain
- Postal and shipping services
- Judicial system
If you are having difficulty scheduling your appointment online or you need to reschedule your second appointment, contact us by email at COVID19VaxCenter@camdencounty.com. If you have any questions, reach out to the COVID-19 Vaccination Center Hotline at (856) 549-0530.