Somerset County Begins Vaccinating 65+ Population
Requests Patience as County Schedules Clinics Based on Supply Provided by State and Federal Authorities
SOMERVILLE, NJ – Somerset County expanded its COVID vaccine distribution program today to include residents 65 years and older at its primary clinic at Raritan Valley Community College. The drive through clinic, the fifth at the college in the past two weeks, has provided more than 1400 vaccinations of community health workers, law enforcement officers, and seniors in less than four hours. Registration for 400 slots at this clinic opened Friday morning, and filled within 45 minutes.
“We understand the desire of our residents to get vaccinated as soon as possible so we can see an end to this pandemic, and the County is doing everything it can to distribute the vaccine we receive as soon as it arrives,” said Shanel Y. Robinson, Somerset County Board of County Commissioners Director. “The supply of vaccine is limited now, but as the state and federal governments increases our allocations we will similarly increase the number of clinics to vaccinate every resident who wants to be vaccinated.”
Somerset County is working with the state and federal governments to vaccinate at least 70 percent of the population, and is hoping that far more will want to be vaccinated. Every Somerset County resident who wants to be vaccinated will be vaccinated by the end of the summer and likely much earlier. The exact timing of clinics and of completing the vaccination project depends on how much vaccine is available and how many people ask to be vaccinated.
At this time, the state and federal governments are notifying New Jersey counties how many vaccine doses they will receive with a week or so notice which greatly limits clinic scheduling flexibility. Because of this, Somerset County will continue to schedule clinics on a week-to-week basis until there is more certainty in vaccine allocations.
“Somerset County has the ability to vaccinate hundreds of people a day at our drive-in clinics, but unfortunately due to the limited supply everyone is facing we are constrained on how many people we can take care of,” said Director Robinson. “We ask for Somerset County’s patience and understanding, and assure you that every dose we receive is being administered as soon as possible. We are as eager as everyone else to see the other side of this pandemic.”
For the near term, drive-in COVID vaccination clinics will be held at Raritan Valley Community College up to three times per week depending on the quantity of vaccine received from the state and federal governments. When each clinic is confirmed, it will be announced in a red bar at the top of the Somerset County website at http://www.co.somerset.nj.us and on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SomersetCountyNJ with a link to the registration site.
Registration is required, and the clinics will not be able to accommodate walk- and drive-up clients due to the fixed number of vaccine doses available at each clinic.
“Somerset County’s COVID vaccination clinic for first responders is very well organized, very impressive,” said Michael Jannone, Chief of the Finderne Fire Department in Bridgewater, NJ, who received his first dose at the Somerset County Clinic on January 14, 2021. “Today’s clinic makes me confident the County’s Health Department will do its part to vaccinate everyone in the county who wants to be vaccinated.
When the supply of vaccine is increased, Somerset County will hold clinics in each of three Somerset County regions: North, East, and South. The Somerset County Department of Health is currently identifying locations and private partners to assist in the locations and staffing of clinics to ensure that every dose allocated can be administered as soon as possible.
The State of New Jersey has listed additional locations where residents can sign up to receive vaccines as long as they are in Phase 1 Group A, are a first responder, are 65 or older, or those 16 to 64 with medical conditions that leave them vulnerable to COVID:
- Hunterdon Family Medicine at Bridgewater - 250 Route 28, Suite 100, Bridgewater, 908-237-4238
- ShopRite Pharmacy #447, 601 Route 206, Hillsborough, vaccines.shoprite.com
- ShopRite Pharmacy of Bernardsville, 93 Morristown Rd/Route #202, Bernardsville, vaccines.shoprite.com
Any New Jersey resident or worker interested in receiving a vaccine in those categories or in the general population should register at https://covidvaccine.nj.gov/ to be notified when they will be eligible to attend a vaccination clinic during the roll-out. Pre-registration does not include an appointment, but an interest in being vaccinated. Once pre-registered, appointments will be sent based on your priority group and eligibility to receive vaccine. The length of Phase 1 and the timing of Phase 2 vaccinations for the general public will be determined by the number of vaccination requests and the availability of vaccine, but anyone can pre-register immediately.
Learn more about Somerset County’s COVID vaccination and testing efforts at https://www.co.somerset.nj.us/residents/covid-19-status-site/vaccinations and https://www.co.somerset.nj.us/government/public-health-safety/health-department.