The Burlington County Health Department has partnered with local businesses to sponsor accessible vaccine clinics for its employees and area residents.
The announcement came on July 28, shortly after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated COVID guidelines the day before, announcing that those in substantial and high-transmission areas — even if already vaccinated — should wear face coverings in a city facility, common area or where social distancing is not feasible.
A high-transmission area is defined as one with more than 100 positive COVID cases per 100,000 residents in a seven-day period. Substantial transmission indicates areas with 50 positive cases per 100,000 people in the same time frame. Burlington County is considered a substantial area, with a current average of about 60 cases per day.
“We’re creating pop up clinics to bring vaccines closer to the people who still need them,” Dr. Herb Conaway, director of the Burlington County Health Department, said in a press release. “Vaccines are safe and offer the best protection against all variants of COVID-19, including the Delta variant that is now rapidly spreading among the unvaccinated.”
Conaway, also a New Jersey assemblyman, wants to spread awareness on the dangers of the variant and hopes the clinics will push for herd immunity.
The Delta variant, first reported in India, is rapidly spreading throughout the U.S. and is two times more infectious than the garden variety coronavirus, Conaway explained. Even vaccinated people who don’t show symptoms can spread the Delta variant to others.
“If you are unvaccinated, you’re two to three times more likely to acquire coronavirus disease,” Conaway explained in his statement. “If you’re unvaccinated, you are eight times more likely to end up in the hospital and you’re 25 times more likely to die if you contract coronavirus. So all of those statistics should be concerning to everyone.”
The health department will provide the vaccines, staff and supplies for on-site clinics. Businesses that would like to participate must be located in Burlington County and provide adequate space, tables and chairs. The offer to businesses is part of the county’s push to vaccinate as many eligible residents as possible this summer to stave off a resurgence of the virus, according to Conaway’s release.
The health department also has a partnership with several districts to create school based vaccine clinics where students 12 and up or adults can receive the Pfizer vaccine, and residents from the Burlington County area can walk in with no appointment and without insurance.
“Parents will be able to have their child fully vaccinated before they hit school after Labor Day,” Conaway noted. “We think this is important because children need to be in school. They need to continue to be with their friends, engaged in other activities related to school, and vaccination will help achieve that safely.”
Burlington County has currently reached a first-dose rate of 70 percent, which Conaway believes should be a primary goal.
The county will continue to offer the Moderna and J&J vaccines to adults four days a week at rotating clinics in Westampton, Palmyra, Edgewater Park and Bordentown. For more information on where to find vaccination clinics or have one held at a local business, go to http://www.co.burlington.nj.us/1889/COVID-19-Vaccinations