COVID-19: Vaccines to arrive in NJ on Tuesday 12-15-20 – Who will Receive them First?

As the Pfizer FDA approved COVID-19 vaccines begin to arrive in NJ on 12-15-20, the burning question on some people’s minds is who will be getting inoculated first?

Per the NJ Health Commissioner, vaccines will be distributed to almost anyone who works in the healthcare field. The list of eligible recipients is intentionally broad.

Vaccinations will take place at 6 regional hospitals, including AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center in Atlantic City and Cooper University Hospital in Camden, University Health in Newark, AtlantiCare and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick

The list of those at the front of the line includes any “licensed healthcare worker” in the state of New Jersey, such as doctors, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, physical therapists and occupational therapists, as well as anyone on their staff, such as receptionists.

The list of eligible healthcare workers includes:

– Community health workers such as midwives and doulas
– Dialysis center workers
– Environmental service workers
– Funeral care and autopsy workers
– Homeless shelter workers and residents
– Hospice facility staff
– Lab technicians
– Mortuary service workers, consultants or contractors who deal with medical services but who may not work in an actual medical office,
– Medical marijuana facilities
– Paramedics, EMTs and first-aid responders.
– Rehabilitation staff
– Residents and workers in psychiatric hospitals
– Unpaid workers like students who are studying in hospitals
– Visiting nurses, nurses who work at assisted living homes
– Workers and residents at group homes and assisted-living complexes
– Workers at family planning sites.

Per NJ BIZ, there are 650,000 New Jersey residents who fit into one of those above categories. It does not mean all 650,000 will get the vaccine in December: The state of New Jersey has 76,050 doses of the Pfizer vaccine to give in the first round.

Those who live in long-term care facilities will also start receiving their first round of the vaccine this week.  More than 20,000 doses will go to long-term care facilities and 54,000 will go to hospitals, which will be the only points of dispensing this week.

 All 6 hospitals receiving the vaccine have arctic-level, subzero freezers in place to store the vaccines.  Very soon, however, 53 acute-care hospitals in New Jersey will also have the Pfizer vaccine.

A second vaccine from Moderna is expected to receive Food & Drug Administration approval later this week.

18 acute care hospitals will receive the Moderna vaccine likely by the beginning of next week. The Moderna vaccine does not need to be kept at such a cold temperature as the Pfizer vaccine.

By way of comparison, the Pfizer vaccine must be stored at -70 degrees Celsius while the Moderna vaccine may be stored at -20 degrees Celsius.

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Elizabeth Mincer, Sharon Caffrey, or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe.