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Gov. Murphy announces expansion of eligibility for COVID vaccination program

Gov. Phil Murphy has announced the expansion of eligibility for more front-line essential workers and high-risk groups in New Jersey’s COVID-19 vaccination program. Eligible groups include educators and staff in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade settings, childcare workers and transportation workers, among others.

“Our administration has built the infrastructure – including nearly 300 vaccination sites across the state – needed to support New Jersey’s COVID-19 vaccination demand,” Murphy was quoted as saying in a press release.

“As the federal government continues to make more vaccine doses available, we are confident in our ability to expand our vaccination program to reach more of our essential workers and vulnerable populations. Our goal is to provide every New Jerseyan with a vaccine when it is available and they are eligible,” he said.

“As vaccine supply increases, this phased expansion of new eligibility groups keeps New Jersey moving forward toward our goal of vaccinating 70% of the eligible adult population,” New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said.

Beginning March 15, the following categories are eligible for vaccination:

• Educators, including support staff, in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade settings;

• Childcare workers in licensed and registered settings;

• Public and local transportation workers, including bus, taxi, ride share, and airport employees; NJ Transit workers; and Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) staff;

• Public safety workers who are not sworn law enforcement or fire professionals, including probation officers and fire safety inspectors;

• Migrant farm workers;

• Members of tribal communities;

• Individuals experiencing homelessness and those living in shelters, including domestic violence shelters.

Beginning March 29, front-line essential workers in the following categories are also eligible for vaccination:

• 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.

Additionally, the eligibility list will indicate that all individuals ages 16 to 64 with certain medical conditions, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), that increase the risk or might increase the risk of severe illness from the virus, are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination, according to the press release.

For more information about eligibility, statewide vaccination site locations, and to preregister for a vaccination, visit https://covid19.nj.gov/vaccine

“Gov. Murphy and I are committed to reopening schools as soon as possible and making sure our educators and students are safe. By expanding vaccination eligibility to educators, we advance both goals,” New Jersey Department of Education Acting Commissioner Dr. Angelica Allen-McMillan was quoted as saying in the press release.

“Schools are an integral part of our communities and everyone in the school community needs to feel safe and secure as we work to safely reopen schools. The expansion of vaccine eligibility is another step to demonstrate our commitment to our school staff and students, and their families,” she said.

“We are incredibly grateful MVC workers will soon be eligible for COVID-19 vaccines,” Motor Vehicle Commission Chief Administrator Sue Fulton said. “Our employees have been working hard to serve New Jersey’s drivers, on the front line, amidst the many challenges created by COVID-19’s threat to public health and safety.”

“Gov. Murphy’s announcement that he is adding educators to the vaccine priority list is an important step toward New Jersey’s emergence from this pandemic,” said Marie Blistan, president of the New Jersey Education Association, which represents teachers.

“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 our members can access the promised vaccinations quickly and efficiently,” Blistan said in the press release from Murphy’s office.

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