SOMERSET USING NEW J&J ALLOCATIONS TO ENSURE SENIORS ARE VACCINATED

Posted on March 10, 2021

Homebound, Travel-Restricted Seniors & Disabled to Be Focus of New Vaccine Allocations

Somerset County is taking advantage of its first shipment of 700 Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID vaccine doses to ensure seniors who have had difficulty obtaining vaccination appointments are protected during the pandemic.

Somerset County is taking advantage of its first shipment of 700 Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID vaccine doses to ensure seniors who have had difficulty obtaining vaccination appointments are protected during the pandemic. The county held its first mobile clinic geared toward seniors this morning at the Somerville Senior Citizens Housing complex in downtown Somerville where the residents received the single-dose vaccine, and is now implementing a waiting list for seniors and the homebound interested in being vaccinated.

“Many of our seniors are having difficulty obtaining an appointment to get a COVID vaccine dose due to technology issues, travel limitations, or just the large demand for vaccinations outstripping the supply,” said Somerset County Commissioner Doug Singleterry, liaison to Somerset County Public Health and Safety. “Now that we have a more mobile, single dose vaccine we are better able to hold satellite clinics closer to where seniors live, and even come directly to some homebound residents’ homes.”

99-year-old Golden M. Strayhorn receives her JJ vaccination at the Somerville Senior Citizen’s Housing complex. Ms. Strayhorn said she was glad to be vaccinated so she could have more visits with her three grandsons.Despite vaccine allocations from the state and federal government remaining largely static, the vaccine eligibility criteria expanded in February to include adults with underlying medical conditions, and now in March to include teachers and school workers. This has greatly increased the demand for vaccinations without significantly increasing the supply, making it even more difficult for seniors who may not be familiar with the appointment technology to obtain appointments.

To address this, the Somerset County Department of Health (SCDoH) is creating the Somerset County COVID-19 Vaccination Waiting List that will prioritize seniors for specific portions of its vaccine allocation. As with the Somerville clinic today, the SCDoH will initially hold vaccination clinics in buildings and communities where seniors live, at the Bridgewater Senior Center, and at the homes of residents unable to travel through county programs such as Meals on Wheels.

“At this time there is still a low supply of vaccine, and while we have received 700 doses of the J&J vaccine the state tells us we will probably not receive additional allocations until April and cannot commit to how many doses we will receive,” said Dr. Namitha Reddy, director of the Somerset County Department of Health. “Therefore, even though we are creating the Senior Citizen waiting list, we ask for everyone’s patience over the coming weeks and encourage everyone to take any opportunity to be vaccinated that presents itself.”

Residents 65 and older who would like to add their contact information to the waiting list can do so by calling the Somerset County COVID Hotline at (908) 231-7155, or by filling out the online form at https://www.co.somerset.nj.us/covidQs

Caregivers may call (908) 231-7155 to add a senior’s contact information to the list, but caregivers are not eligible to be vaccinated at this time. 

Source: Somerset County Office of Public Information