State announces 6 ‘mega vaccination sites’ for N.J.

Locations in Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Gloucester, Middlesex and Monmouth counties will serve as hubs for phased priority groups, then general public

Six mega vaccination sites — located in Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Gloucester, Middlesex and Monmouth counties (listed below) — will serve as hubs for phased priority groups starting in early January and eventually will serve the general public, the state Department of Health announced late last week.

The goal is for each site to be able to vaccinate up to 2,400 people per day, state officials said.

The sites are part of a network of more than 200 sites intended to help the state reach its goal of having 70% of the state vaccinated within six months.

The state-coordinated sites will start by vaccinating frontline health care workers and then continue in a phased approach depending on the supply of vaccine to New Jersey. After these phases are complete, then the general public will be eligible for vaccination.

The timing of the progression among the groups depends on the supply of vaccine to the state, but it is expected that the general public will be able to get the vaccine by the beginning of March.

The health department said it will announce an online portal to enable the various groups in the initial phases and, eventually, the general public to find a vaccination site and register and schedule an appointment. Some vaccination sites may offer walk-up/on-site registration as well.

Here are the specific locations of the six state mega vaccination sites:

Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said the state sites will help ensure and equitable rollout of the vaccines.

“New Jersey will roll out COVID-19 vaccines step-by-step to serve all who live, work or study in the state,” she said. “New Jersey’s phasing will ensure that limited vaccines are distributed in a fair and equitable manner. With each successive wave, we will get closer to being able to open our vaccination sites to the general public.”

Vaccinations began last week in New Jersey hospitals for paid and unpaid persons serving in their health facilities. Vaccinations of long-term care residents and staff are expected to begin on Dec. 28 through the federal Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program with CVS and Walgreens.

The mega sites are one of several types of sites — including micro, medium and large ­— that will be utilized in the COVID-19 vaccination plan, classified by the number of people that can be vaccinated per day.

These community-based sites are being established in various settings and locations throughout the state. The sites also will include: county sites, and county and local health departments; urgent care centers; federally qualified health centers; select retail pharmacies; and primary care providers, as the state moves through the vaccination phases and toward availability to the general public. Additional sites will be added as the phases progress.

The department is also finalizing a public dashboard that will show doses administered and some demographic information. Data will be updated weekly and refined over time.

The mega sites are a collaborative partnership with the NJDOH, New Jersey All-Hazards Incident Management Team, New Jersey Office of Emergency Management, health care providers, local/county health officials, local/county health departments and local/county emergency management.

Gov. Phil Murphy said these sites will be a key to the state’s recovery plans.

“Building out a core infrastructure of vaccination sites is a critical component of our strategic and efficient deployment of a COVID-19 vaccine and is a key element of New Jersey’s recovery,” he said. “These statewide sites will be in position to vaccinate frontline health care workers who are part of the 1a category and will continue for each successive group of New Jerseyans that becomes eligible for vaccination.”