Updated: January 19, 2021
As this is an evolving situation, we will provide updated information as it becomes available.
In December 2020, the first COVID-19 Vaccines were made available in NJ. New Jersey's vaccination plan includes phased distribution ensuring that health care workers, essential workers and at risk populations receive their vaccine prior to the general population.
As of January 14, 2021 vaccines are available to those residents in the following categories:
- Paid and unpaid persons serving in health care settings who have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials and long-term care residents and staff;
- Sworn police and fire personnel;
- Residents 65 and older;
- Residents between the ages of 16-64 with medical conditions, as defined by CDC, that increase the risk of severe illness from the virus
As of January 15, 2021 more than 4,000,000 New Jerseyans are eligible to receive the vaccine. However, NJ is only receiving a little more than 100,000 doses of vaccine per week. Obviously this means it will be some time before appointments will be available for many residents, even if you are currently eligible.
All New Jersey Residents may now pre-register on the NJ COVID-19 Vaccination Portal. The portal questionnaire will determine your current eligibility. If you are determined to be in a phase not currently eligible for scheduling, you will be alerted via email when your phase may begin to schedule an appointment through the portal.
In addition to the state portal, vaccine appointments can be made online for vaccines distributed by the Atlantic Health System, including the Morris County Regional Vaccination Site at the Rockaway Townsquare Mall.
The Madison Health Department is not currently a COVID-19 vaccination site. Morris County’s primary vaccination site will be located at the state “mega-site” located at the Rockaway Townsquare Mall. We anticipate additional vaccination sites, such as pharmacies and other medical facilities, becoming available in the coming weeks and months. More information about vaccination resources in Morris County are available on the county website.
Like many aspects of the COVID-19 public health emergency, the vaccination program in NJ is a rapidly changing and ever evolving situation. New Jersey’s COVID-19 Information Hub will have the most up-to-date information on NJ COVID-19 vaccination program.
Need Further Assistance?
As the Madison Health Department is not currently a COVID-19 vaccination site, staff at our local health department can only provide limited information regarding appointments or registration for the vaccination program. If you need assistance contact:
New Jersey State Resources
- Schedule online or pre-register for the New Jersey Vaccination Program via the NJ Vaccination Scheduling System (NJVSS)
- NJVSS Online Help is available if you’ve already registered in NJVSS and have encountered difficulty
- List of public and private vaccination locations
- NJ COVID-19 Vaccination Call Center Toll-Free: 1-855-568-0545 (available starting January 25)
Morris County Resources
- Schedule online for the Morris County Regional Vaccination Site in Rockaway
- Morris County COVID-19 Call Center: 973-829-8250
COVID-19 Vaccines are free to all who live, work or are educated in New Jersey. Some locations may ask for medical insurance information, but it is not required to schedule an appointment or to receive your vaccine.
Never give credit or debit card information, social security number or bank account number to someone calling claiming to be able to make, change or cancel your vaccine appointment.
How Does The Vaccine Work?
Generally, vaccines work by triggering a person's immune system to develop protection against a disease. COVID-19 vaccines help our bodies develop immunity to the virus that causes COVID-19 without us having to get the illness. Different types of vaccines work in different ways to offer protection.
As of January 6th there are two vaccines which are being used in New Jersey. One developed by Pfizer and one by Moderna. Both of the vaccines have received an FDA Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) and are messenger RNA vaccines (mRNA). Unlike many other vaccines which put a weakened or inactivated germ into our bodies, mRNA vaccines instruct our cells how to make a specific protein—or even just a piece of a protein—that triggers an immune response inside our bodies. That immune response, which produces antibodies, is what protects us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies.
Both vaccines require two doses and have proven to be highly effective in preventing symptomic infection of COVID-19 with efficacy rates in the mid-90% range shortly after the second dose has been administered. Learn more.
Is the Vaccine Safe?
COVID-19 vaccines that are authorized for use have gone through clinical trials involving tens of thousands of participants to determine their safety and efficacy.
The known and potential benefits of approved vaccines outweigh the known and potential harms of becoming infected with COVID-19.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs) the COVID-19 vaccines which have been shown to be safe and effective as determined by data from the manufacturers and findings from clinical trials. Learn More.
Once Vaccinated, Am I Exempt from COVID-19 Policies?
No. Even after you receive the full course of vaccine you must still abide by any current COVID-19 regulations, policies and best practices including: quarantining if a close contact to a known COVID-19 case; following travel restrictions and quartaine procedures; wearing a face covering; practicing social distancing and alike.
As more community members are vaccinated and the COVID-19 public health emergency abates we can all celebrate together as restrictions are eased but until that time continue to help the fight by getting the vaccine when you can and following the health guidance issued by local, state and federal agencies.