The first of two big expansions this month of COVID-19 vaccine eligibility in New Jersey begins Monday with transportation workers and several other groups who can now schedule shots, though appointments remain hard to get.
Gov. Phil Murphy announced the expansion earlier this month and initially included teachers and day care workers in Monday’s group, but they were switched to immediate eligibility last week following a federal mandate.
President Joe Biden said Thursday in a national address that he plans make all adults vaccine-eligible by May 1 and get the country “closer to normal” by the Fourth of July.
The people who can schedule a shot in New Jersey starting today include, according to the state website:
- Motor Vehicle Commission workers
- NJ Transit workers and other transportation workers
- Public and local transportation workers, including bus, taxi, ride-share and airport employees
- All public safety personal who have not already been made eligible such as probation officers, child protective service workers and probation officers.
- Members of tribal communities
- Migrant farm workers
- People who are homeless and people living in homeless shelters or domestic violence shelters
In addition, the medical conditions that make those between the ages of 16 and 64 expands Monday to include the following:
- Asthma (moderate-to-severe)
- Cerebrovascular disease (affects blood vessels and blood supply to the brain)
- Cystic fibrosis
- Hypertension or high blood pressure
- Neurologic conditions, such as dementia
- Liver disease
- Overweight (BMI over 25)
- Pulmonary fibrosis (having damaged or scarred lung tissues)
- Thalassemia (a type of blood disorder)
- Type 1 diabetes mellitus
- Note: Individuals who are in an immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, or use of other immune weakening medicines are also eligible but should follow CDC guidance and first discuss vaccination with their medical provider before receiving the vaccine.
The list who were previously includes:
- Health care workers
- People who live and work at long-term care and high-risk congregate facilities
- First responders
- People 65 and older
- People 16 to 64 who have certain medical conditions
Those medical conditions include:
- Chronic kidney disease
- COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
- Down Syndrome
- Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
- Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 kg/m2 or higher but < 40 kg/m2)
- Severe Obesity (BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2)
- Sickle cell disease
- Type 2 diabetes mellitus
- Note: Individuals who are pregnant and those in an immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant are also eligible but should follow CDC guidance and first discuss vaccination with their medical provider before receiving the vaccine.
Later in the month, beginning on 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
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