NJ COVID Update: Teachers, transportation workers in New Jersey to be eligible for vaccine this month

NEW JERSEY (WABC) — New Jersey is expanding its vaccine eligibility this month.

Governor Phil Murphy held a briefing Monday to discuss the details.

Starting March 15, the following workers will be eligible to get vaccinated:
– Pre-K through 12 educators and support staff
– Child care workers in licensed and registered settings
– Public and local transportation workers, including bus, taxi, rideshare, airport employees, NJ Transit workers and Motor Vehicle Commissioner staff
– All public safety personnel who are not sworn law enforcement or fire professionals
– Migrant farm workers
– Members of tribal communities
– Individuals experiencing homelessness and those living in shelter, including domestic violence shelters

Starting March 29, the following workers will be eligible to get vaccinated:
– Food production, agriculture and food distribution
– Eldercare and support
– Warehousing and logistics
– Social services support staff
– Elections personnel
– Hospitality
– Medical supply chain
– Postal and shipping services
– Clergy
– Judicial system

The New Jersey Education Association says the governor’s announcement is an “important step toward New Jersey’s emergence from this pandemic.”

“With nearly 1.4 million students and over 200,000 adults, one out of every six New Jersey residents is connected directly to our public schools,” NJEA said in a statement. “Count the families they go home to and no institution in our state directly connects to more individuals than our public schools. The sooner educators are vaccinated, the sooner our entire state is safer. We call on the administration to immediately extend that access to employees in higher education who are equally as exposed and equally as critical to fully reopening our state for in-person instruction. At every level, New Jersey educators have worked tirelessly to educate our students and have advocated tirelessly to protect them and our communities throughout this pandemic by demanding high standards for health and safety. We stand ready to work with the Murphy administration, other elected leaders, school districts and colleges to ensure that our members can access the promised vaccinations quickly and efficiently.”

The announcement comes as New Jersey exceeds two million COVID vaccine doses administered, with a current total of 2,039,427.

Murphy says CVS Pharmacy and Rite Aid will be allocated 22,500 Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program. He says these are additive to the doses the state is receiving.

“We’re anticipating roughly 70,000 doses of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine to be delivered to us this week,” the governor said. “We’re going to do all we can to make sure our distribution and administration of these initial doses is strategic and well-planned.”

For all residents 75 and over, Murphy says they we actively conducting outreach over the phone and scheduling appointments for them to ensure greater direct access and increasing allocations to mega-sites, specifically for seniors.

“We know that residents in this age group are among our most vulnerable residents,” he said. “We need a little bit more of an extra push here, and that’s what we are going to do.”

Murphy stressed that people should only arrive 15 minutes before the appointment time at the mega-site.

“Our six vaccine mega-sites are properly stocked,” he said. “If you have an appointment, you have a vaccine. Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your appointment time. There is no need to wait on line or fear that you won’t get vaccinated.”

Also happening Monday, fans can return to some arenas and stadiums in the state at a reduced capacity.

Any venue that holds more than 5,000 people will be allowed to open at 10% capacity if it’s indoors and 15% if it’s outdoors.

It applies to both sports and entertainment venues.

Unlike neighboring New York state, Murphy says PCR tests will not be required before entry.

“We are not requiring that, but that is also the reason it is only 10%,” he said last week. “I think at the Rock (Prudential Center) for Devils game, that’s probably 1,700 or 1,800 people. And the folks at the Prudential Center have been exceptional.”

Outdoor venues allowed to have 15% capacity include Red Bull Arena in Harrison.

RELATED: When did you realize the COVID pandemic changed everything?

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