COVID Vaccines In Essex County: Here’s What You Need To Know
ESSEX COUNTY, NJ —New Jersey keeps expanding the number of its available COVID-19 vaccination sites, with new locations recently added to the state’s ever-evolving list.
In Essex County alone, there are more than 30 places to get a vaccine if you qualify. Supply shortages have limited the number of people who can get a shot, however, and demand is far outpacing the available doses – a nationwide issue (read more below).
Essex County is running five vaccination sites in Livingston, Newark, West Caldwell and West Orange.
Each location only serves residents of certain towns (see below). However, people who live in Newark, the state’s most populated city, can go to any of the sites.
As of March 10, Essex County had administered 90,774 first doses and 49,809 second doses of the Moderna vaccine at its five sites, a total of 140,583 doses.
- Where – Livingston Mall, former Sears building, 112 Eisenhower Parkway, Livingston (Entrance is in the back).
- Towns Served – Livingston, Belleville, Maplewood, Millburn, Newark, Orange and South Orange
NEWARK – ESSEX COUNTY COLLEGE
- Where – Essex County College, 303 University Avenue, Newark (Gym entrance on West Market Street)
- Towns Served – Newark, East Orange and Irvington
NEWARK – DONALD PAYNE SCHOOL
- Where – Essex County Donald M. Payne, Sr. School of Technology, 498-544 West Market Street, Newark
- Towns Served – Newark, East Orange and Irvington
- Where – Essex County West Caldwell School of Technology, 620 Passaic Avenue, West Caldwell
- Towns Served – West Caldwell, Bloomfield, Caldwell, Fairfield, Glen Ridge, Newark, North Caldwell and Roseland
- Where – Former Kmart building, 235 Prospect Avenue, West Orange
- Towns Served – West Orange, Cedar Grove, Essex Fells, Montclair, Newark, Nutley and Verona
Here’s how it works, county officials say:
“When vaccinations are available, the sites will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Residents can make appointments at www.EssexCOVID.org or by calling 973-877-8456. Appointments only can be made after the county receives the vaccines. Vaccinations will be given in two doses. Residents making reservations to receive the vaccination will receive two appointments. It is critical that residents attend both appointments. Residents will be asked to provide their medical insurance information and their insurance provider will be billed $16.94 for the first dose and $28.39 for the second dose. If a resident does not have insurance, the cost of the vaccine will be covered by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provide Relief Fund. There will be no out-of-pocket expenses charged to residents.”
Here’s what to expect, county officials say:
“Each vaccination site is set up in a similar fashion. Residents entering the site will first be pre-screened to verify they have an appointment. Those who do not have an appointment will not be allowed to receive the vaccine that day. Residents will then proceed to a registration table where they will be provided with their paperwork for their visit and receive a card to remind them about their second appointment. After being inoculated with the vaccine, residents will be required to wait 15 minutes while they are monitored for any side effects. Social distancing guidelines will be followed at every site and areas will be sanitized on a regular basis throughout the day.”
New Jersey has also cleared the way for other vaccination sites across the state, including Federally Qualified Health Centers, supermarkets, pharmacies and doctor’s offices. Some are accepting appointments, but others are not. People can visit COVIDvaccine.nj.gov to preregister.
In Essex County, the state’s list currently includes:
- Clara Maass Medical Center, 1 Clara Maass Drive / rwjbh.org/covid19vaccine
- Riverside Medical Group, 195 Cortlandt St., (973) 759-1221
Riverside Urgent Care , 135 Bloomfield Ave., (973) 748-7459
- Stop and Shop#0800 / see vaccine scheduler here
- CVS Pharmacy, (800) 746-7287, cvs.com/immunizations/covid-19-vaccine
- East Orange General Hospital, 300 Central Avenue, (973) 266-2995
- Newark Community Health Center – East Orange, 444 William Street, (973) 675-1900 / nchcfqhc.org/
- Rite Aid, 543 Central Avenue / riteaid.com/pharmacy/covid-qualifier
- ShopRite Pharmacy #225, vaccines.shoprite.com
- Newark Community Health Center – Irvington, 1148-1150 Springfield Avenue, (973) 675-1900 / nchcfqhc.org/
- Rite Aid, 35 Mill Road / riteaid.com/pharmacy/covid-qualifier
- ShopRite Pharmacy, 483 South Livingston Ave., (973) 992-6854, vaccines.shoprite.com
- Saint Barnabas Medical Center, 94 Old Short Hills Road, (973) 322-5000 / rwjbh.org/covid19vaccine
- Hackensack Meridian Health-Mountainside, 1 Bay Avenue, mountainsidehosp.com/
- Newark Community Health Center, 741 Broadway, NCHCFQHC.org
- Newark Community Health Center – Ludlow Street, 101 Ludlow Street, /nchcfqhc.org/
- Newark Community Health Center – Ferry Street, 92 Ferry Street, (973) 323-3669 /nchcfqhc.org/
- Newark Department of Health and Community Wellness, 110 William St., (973) 733-5728, https://newarkcovid19.com/home
- ShopRite Pharmacy, 206 Springfield Ave., (973) 877-3641, vaccines.shoprite.com
- Liss Pharmacy, 794 Mt Prospect Ave., (973) 483-4749, www.lisspharmacy.com
- Jewish Renaissance Medical Center, 359 13th Avenue, (732) 376-9333 / jrmc.us/
- Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, 201 Lyons Avenue, (973) 926-4376 / rwjbh.org/covid19vaccine
- Saint Michael’s Medical Center, St. Mike’s POD 111 Central Avenue, (973) 877-5000 / signupgenius.com/go/10C0D44A4AD2BA3FBCF8-sign2
- University Hospital, 150 Bergen Street, www.uhnj.org/vaccination/
- Saint James Health Adult Clinic, 228 Lafayette Street, (973) 789-8111 / saintjameshealth.com/
- Rite Aid, 104 12th Street / riteaid.com/pharmacy/covid-qualifier
- Nutley Health Department Adult Clinic, 149 Chestnut Street, 973-877-8456
- Riverside Medical Group, 228 Franklin Avenue / riversidemedgroup.com
- Newark Community Health Center – Orange, 37 North Day Street, Floor 3, (973) 323-3669 / nchcfqhc.org/
- Stop and Shop #2817 / see vaccine scheduler here
- Vanguard Medical Group, 271 Grove Ave, Suite A, (908) 858-3232, www.vanguardmedgroup.com
- CVS Pharmacy, (800) 746-7287, cvs.com/immunizations/covid-19-vaccine
WHO IS ELIGIBLE?
New Jersey originally planned to roll out its vaccines in phases. An exact timeline wasn’t made available.
However, New Jersey took a detour from its distribution plan in January, and has since moved several groups ahead on the list. Here’s who was eligible as of March 12:
- Paid and unpaid health care workers
- Residents and workers of long-term care and high-risk congregate care facilities
- First responders including sworn law enforcement and fire professionals
- People over 65
- People 16 to 64 who have certain medical conditions that increase the risk of severe illness from the virus
- Pre-K to 12 educators and staff
- Childcare workers in licensed and registered settings
VACCINATIONS IN ESSEX COUNTY: A BRIEF BACKGROUND
The first COVID-19 vaccinations in New Jersey were given to workers at University Hospital in Newark, with cameras rolling and Gov. Phil Murphy in attendance.
- First COVID-19 Vaccines In NJ Bring Hope To Newark Hospital
- Meet 5 Newark Hospital Workers Who Got Historic Vaccinations
Essex County opened its five vaccination sites on Dec. 26, 2020, becoming the first county in New Jersey to do so.
Officials have been sharing photos from the five Essex County vaccination sites, which are being run by health care professionals and bolstered by volunteers, who are eligible to get a vaccination from the virus in return.
- Essex County Calls For Volunteers At Coronavirus Vaccine Clinics
- Here’s Where Essex County Sends Its ‘Open, Unused’ COVID Vaccines
Several local health care workers, emergency responders and elected officials have reported that they got their shots.
- Essex County Official Gets Vaccinated After Beating Coronavirus
- Newark Top Cop Says All First Responders Should Get COVID Vaccine
- North Caldwell Top Cop Gets COVID Vaccine: ‘This Was My Choice’
Retirement and nursing home residents throughout the county have also been getting vaccinated.
In January, many of those who previously got their first shots received follow-up inoculations, a requirement of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
- 2nd COVID Vaccinations Given At West Orange Nursing Home
- School Nurse From Bloomfield Gets Her 2nd Dose Of COVID Vaccine
- Essex County Prison Doctor Gets Second Shot Of COVID-19 Vaccine
In late January, U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, a Newark resident, said Essex Countyfor getting vaccines “out really quickly and in people’s arms.”
“We’ve created an effective plan for distribution that ensures our residents get both doses of the vaccine,” Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo Jr. said, tipping his hat to Booker for the recognition.
- See related article: Essex County Is ‘National Model’ For COVID Vaccines, Sen. Booker Says
Meanwhile, some towns and cities have been stepping in to help fill the gaps.
In Newark, officials plan to create “rotating vaccination locations” throughout the city.
“For the past year, our city has been fighting against COVID-19 and our community now has access to the vaccine geared to help give us greater protection from the disease,” Mayor Ras Baraka said.
In North Caldwell and West Caldwell, municipal officials have been reaching out to homebound residents who can’t make it to one of the Essex County vaccination sites or any of the others that have been authorized by the state.
“The list will be used by our local health department to coordinate a mobile vaccination plan for all such residents,” North Caldwell police stated.
In East Orange, the city’s Division of Senior Services has been helping local residents register for vaccinations, offering transportation aid to those in need.
- See related article: Essex County Is Giving Seniors Bus Rides To Get COVID Vaccines
The rollout in Essex County hasn’t been without its issues, however, including severe supply and demand conflicts at the county-run vaccination sites.
DiVincenzo offered an update on the process on Jan. 18. He wrote:
“We have experienced an extremely high demand from people who want the vaccine and have hit a few bumps in the road. In response, we are continuing to monitor our website, make updates as information and eligible groups change, and tweak our system to improve user experience. We are the only county in the state to have a call center to respond to questions and help those who don’t have access to a computer. During these early stages, through no fault of our own, we have experienced network and equipment failure. We are working through these issues and added staff so we can respond to the thousands of calls coming in.”
“Unfortunately, the number of people who want the shot far exceeds the doses we have or are scheduled to receive. Because of this, appointments fill up fast and availability is limited. We ask for your patience and understanding that it may take time before everyone can make an appointment. This is not unique to Essex County -This is occurring across the country. We are in constant communication with Governor Phil Murphy and the Department of Health and have requested that more doses be sent to Essex County. While the governor and his staff have been supportive of our efforts, they are experiencing the some supply shortages as we are. The problem exists because of distribution delays by the federal government.”
Some residents have begun posting about “working the system” on the county’s vaccination website to get earlier appointments, earning a plea for “honesty” from DiVincenzo.
“Some zip codes have more availability because they are in some of our most vulnerable areas,” he said. “We encourage residents to be honest and truthful on our website to ensure that the system remains fair for all of our residents.”
- See related article: COVID Vaccines In Essex: Official Makes Plea For ‘Honesty’
Meanwhile, local officials continue to try to bolster the public’s confidence in getting inoculated.
On Feb. 16, Essex County Commissioner President Wayne Richardson shared a video taken at Essex County College in Newark, which serves the cities of Newark, East Orange and Irvington – three of the hardest-hit municipalities in the county when it comes to the coronavirus.
- See related article: Take A Video Tour Of COVID Vaccine Site At Essex County College
The arrival of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which joins the Pfizer and Moderna versions, was expected to help get more shots into arms across New Jersey, including Essex County. While some of the new vaccine will be going to local CVS pharmacies as part of the Federal Pharmacy Program, Essex County will be using its initial 2,000 doses for a mobile vaccine program – going to senior buildings, churches and other key locations.
The county will continue to use the Moderna version at its five vaccination sites, a spokesperson said.
- See related article: Essex County To Go ‘Mobile’ With Johnson & Johnson COVID Vaccines
On March 9, Queen Latifah, a Newark native who grew up in East Orange, returned to her old stomping grounds to get a shot. It was part of an effort to boost public confidence in vaccinations, according to local officials, who welcomed the actor, rapper and producer back with open arms.
- See related article: Queen Latifah Gets COVID Vaccine, Films ‘The Equalizer’ In Newark
Have YOU gotten a COVID-19 vaccination in Essex County? Let us know how it went — leave a comment below!