BLACKWOOD, N.J. - New Jersey residents 16 and older are now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, though the Pfizer vaccine is the only available to those individuals 16 and 17.
It’s another step forward in getting students back in school and bringing the pandemic to an end.
Injecting vaccine for months, staff at the Camden County vaccination site in Blackwood have seen it all, from tight supplies of vaccine and limits on who gets a shot. And, Monday, April 19, when all restrictions drop.
"I have two small children. I want to get out and get back in the playgrounds and go out to parks and enjoy the summer," Ray Dimalanta remarked. The father of two boys was joyful over his second shot.
As eligibility in New Jersey opens to those 16-years and older, Blackwood posts 3,800 new appointments to meet the hoped-for demand.
"With eligibility opening up, I think that will provide, hopefully, anybody that’s still on the sidelines, anybody that may have been hesitant, this is the time to jump in," Dan Keashen, with Camden County, stated.
New Jersey has fully vaccinated 2.5 million residents, say its leaders, a rate that likely helped convince Camden Public Schools to return Pre-K through 2nd grade and high needs students to class on a hybrid plan.
"We just wanted to make sure we were able to bring students back when we could do it safely. When we can assure all boxes have been checked. We’re following all safety guidelines," Superintendent of Schools Katrina McCombs explained.
"We’re excited to go back to school, seeing friends and being back together in one place," student Timothy Leach commented.
In his COVID briefing, N.J. Governor Phil Murphy spoke of "measured" success.
"We’re not spiking any footballs here. We’re on a journey and we know many of you are still trying to get appointments," Governor Murphy commented.
And, in Blackwood, there was relief for Lori Gibbs, a nurse and caregiver for her 74-year-old mom living with Parkinson’s.
"She’s at a risk-age. She’s over 65, at risk for almost anything, so it’s important for her to receive her shot," Gibbs explained.
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