COVID-19 Vaccine Update from the Mayor

Mayor Manzo is providing some clarification on vaccine eligibility and steps to help schedule your vaccination.

To our Harrison Family,

Following up on my recent COVID-19 Update, I want to further clarify the situation with the vaccine scheduling process and current supply limitations. Last Friday, it was officially announced that the current supply of vaccines to the state of New Jersey (and nationwide) had become limited in relation to the number of people eligible and seeking to schedule vaccination appointments. This caused local distribution sites (ie Inspira, ShopRite and the County Mega-site) to temporarily halt their vaccination processes effective Saturday, January 23rd. In Inspira’s case, this also triggered the cancellation of previously scheduled vaccine appointments slated for January 23rd and going forward. 

This obviously created some angst, especially for those with cancelled appointments trying to reschedule at other locations, only to find no appointments available. That’s because this was not an Inspira issue, it was and is a national supply chain issue. There are simply not enough vaccines being produced and delivered to the distribution sites to meet the current demand. As stated, this will change as the production process continues to ramp up, so we need to be patient as that happens. Yes, I know we have been preaching patience for many months now! 

There is some confusion concerning 2nd dose cancellations that occurred recently and the local scheduling process. It was discovered that some (not many) of the appointments cancelled by Inspira were 2nd dose appointments that had been scheduled on the heels of a person’s first dose……which may have occurred at another site (ie the County Mega-site). Gloucester County addressed this with a statement yesterday:

The Gloucester County Mega Vaccination Site and the State of New Jersey are currently working to accommodate all individuals without a second appointment date.

As confirmed by the State, on Friday, January 29, 2021 all individuals who have already received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine prior to January, 29, 2021 will be automatically scheduled for their second dose. These individuals should expect to receive an email that includes a QR code (matrix barcode) with the date and time of their next appointment. Individuals who did not give an email on the date of their first dose will get a text or phone call to schedule their second dose.

All individuals who receive their vaccine on or after January 30, 2021, will automatically receive a second dose appointment from the State.

The State has advised that appointments will be consistent with the date on the back of the card and all appointments will be held at Gloucester County’s Mega Vaccination Site.

So, this is good news for those of you concerned about getting your second shot, if that appointment was cancelled. You will be contacted, if you haven’t been already. I also want to clarify that the County Mega-site DID NOT cancel any scheduled vaccine appointments (first or second dose). That’s because the Mega-site only schedules appointments based on the number of vaccines they actually have on hand. Appointments at the County Mega-site are never scheduled without the vaccines to accompany them. 

On Monday, January 25, 2021, the State and local news outlets announced that Gloucester County was closed due to “lack of vaccines.” Gloucester County’s Mega Vaccination Site was closed because they had not made appointments available based upon the week’s vaccine delivery. Gloucester County planned for this closure and never had any appointments scheduled for the afternoon of Sunday, January 24 or Monday, January 25.

At this point, the process is clear. Once you register for the vaccine on the State’s Scheduling System, follow the below steps:

  1. Receive Eligibility Notification: you should receive an email when you become “eligible” to get the vaccine 
  2. Schedule Your Visit: that email should include an option(s) and link to one of the distribution sites’ schedule, with available appointments 
  3. If Not Scheduled, Keep Checking For Appointments: Yes, many times there will not be appointment times available, which is related to the supply issue. At that point, you should continue to check back on those designated appointment options periodically to schedule your appointment. For more information about the Gloucester County Mega Vaccination Center, visit their website.

Follow the 3-Step process referenced above to register and schedule your vaccination appointment as you become eligible. That should help with any frustrations, along with an added dose of patience – which is easier said than done.

Together for Harrison Township,
Lou Manzo
Your Mayor