Updated: October 22, 2021
As this is an evolving situation, we will provide updated information as it becomes available.
As of October 22, 2021, approximately 69% of Morris County and 71% of Madison residents are fully vaccinated. Vaccines are now readily available to residents who are eligible. All three vaccines currently available are safe and effective in preventing severe illness and death when administered as directed, including those caused by the more contagious Delta variant.
On October 21, 2021 the CDC and FDA expanded recommendations for certain individuals to receive boosters regardless of which vaccine they have already received:
- For individuals 18 years and older who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and were vaccinated two or more months ago.
- For individuals who received a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, the following groups are eligible for a booster shot at 6 months or more after their initial series:
- 65 years and older
- Age 18+ who live in long-term care settings
- Age 18+ who have underlying medical conditions
- Age 18+ who work or live in high-risk settings
The October 21st CDC action also authorized “mixing and matching” for booster doses. That is no matter which primary vaccine you received, you can proceed with a booster of a different vaccine.
On August 23, the FDA provided final approval of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for those 16 years of age and older. This vaccine will use the market name Comirnaty. Prior Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) of Comirnaty remains in place for those 12-15.
Pregnant women or those who have recently given birth are at higher risk for severe COVID-19 disease. The CDC recently reinforced the strong recommendation that pregnant, recently pregnant or those trying to become pregnant get vaccinated as the benefits outweigh known or potential risks.
“Breakthrough” cases, or a COVID-19 infection in someone who has been fully-vaccinated, remain rare. In NJ (as of Oct 4th data) 0.65% of fully-vaccinated residents later tested positive for COVID-19. Even fewer required hospitalization (0.01%) or died as a result (0.004%). The current public health concern is a pandemic among the unvaccinated which is the primary driver of current cases, hospitalizations and deaths.
Local vaccination data is available on the NJ COVID-19 Data Dashboard and is updated each Friday.
Who is Eligible to Receive the Vaccine?
Currently all residents age 12+ are eligible to receive a vaccine. As of May 24th only the Pfizer vaccine is approved for children 12-15 years of age.
Can I Get a Vaccine at the Madison Health Department?
The Madison Health Department now has all three COVID-19 vaccines available, including booster doses. Appointments are required. Call 973-593-3079 x1 for more information or to schedule an appointment.
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?
How can I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I’m homebound?
If you are unable to leave the home to receive a COVID-19 vaccine you may request an in-home vaccination appointment by completing an online form here. You may also contact the Madison Health Department at 973-593-3079 x1 to request an at home visit.
Dedicated Assistance for Residents 65 & Older
Senior Residents 65+ can call the dedicated New Jersey Senior COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline between 8:00 A.M. and 8:00 P.M. at 856-249-7007. Agents can assist with:
- Registering for the NJ Vaccine Scheduling System (NJVSS)
- Scheduling appointments at NJVSS sites, including Senior only appointments at Walmart and Shop Rite locations
- Rescheduling Appointments as needed
New Jersey State Resources for All Residents
- 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
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.
There are three vaccines which are authorized by the FDA to be used in New Jersey
Two are known as messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines. One has been developed by Pfizer and the other by Moderna. 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 mRNA 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.
The third vaccine, developed by Johnson & Johnson is a viral vector vaccine and only requires a single dose. Viral vector vaccines use a modified version of a different virus—the vector—to deliver important instructions to our cells. For COVID-19 viral vector vaccines, the vector (not the virus that causes COVID-19, but a different, harmless virus) will enter a cell in our body and then use the cell's machinery to produce a harmless piece of the virus that causes COVID-19. This piece is known as a spike protein and it is only found on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19.
Learn more about COVID-19 Vaccines.
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 FDA also has been monitoring patient outcomes on an ongoing basis.
The known and potential benefits of approved vaccines outweigh the known and potential harms of becoming infected with COVID-19. All approved vaccines have been shown to be safe and effective as determined by data from the manufacturers and findings from clinical trials.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs) for these COVID-19 vaccines:
- Pfizer for children ages 12-15 (Comirnaty)
- Moderna for adults 18 and older
- Johnson and Johnson for adults 18 and older (Jansen)
In addition the FDA has granted full approval of:
- Pfizer’s Vaccine for teens and adults ages 16 and older (Comirnaty)
Learn More about vaccine safety and approvals.
Once Vaccinated, Am I Exempt from COVID-19 Policies?
As of May28, 2021 masking and social distancing requirements have been relaxed in New Jersey, in line with recommendations from the CDC and NJ Department of Health. For more information, please click here.
However, fully vaccinated residents who have close contact with someone with COVID-19 do not need to quarantine if they meet all of the following criteria:
- It has been at least 14 days since your final dose of vaccine, AND
- Are within 3 months following receipt of the last dose in the series, AND
- Have remained asymptomatic since your most recent COVID-19 exposure.
If you do not meet all of the above criteria you should follow standard quarantine protocols. While you do not need to quarantine, you should still watch for symptoms of COVID-19 for the 14 days following an exposure. If you experience symptoms, you should begin isolation and get a COVID-19 test.
As more community members are vaccinated and the COVID-19 public health emergency abates we can all celebrate together as restrictions are eased. 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.