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COVID In New Jersey: Questions Remain Why Garden State Still Stuck At Age 65+ Eligibility For Vaccines

TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- New York is dropping the eligible age to get a vaccine to 50 starting Tuesday morning. Connecticut plans to allow teenagers to get shots in two weeks.

But New Jersey continues to only offer it to those 65 and older, as well as teachers and those with underlying health conditions.

Why is that? CBS2's Lisa Rozner tried to get some answers on Monday.


For weeks, Ramsey teacher Donna Carlin and her husband, Brian, who has a heart condition, tried to get a vaccine appointment through New Jersey's online system.

"We did some at midnight. We did some at 6 in the morning. But we could never find an appointment," Donna Carlin said.

But she is not alone.

Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday there are 700-plus sites, yet Donna and others who are eligible have only been able to secure an appointment through volunteers who monitor the sites 24/7.

READ MORECOVID Vaccine In New Jersey: Newark Airport Employees Receive Shots As Eligible Expands

So on Monday, Rozner asked Murphy, "Supply issues aside, it seems like the state's online registry system isn't that effective. Why is it an issue to get an appointment?"

"If you have not been able to get an appointment, and you're anxious about that, we have nothing but sympathy and I promise you you're going to get it. It may not be as soon as you'd like but that's because we don't have the supplies that we'd like," Murphy responded.


Stats from Johns Hopkins University show in the Tri-State Area, Connecticut is leading the way in terms of percent of the population vaccinated. New York has vaccinated the most people -- more than 2.5 million -- compared to New Jersey and Connecticut.

"So how come New Jersey is still stuck at eligibility with 65 years and older?" Rozner asked.

"We've taken an approach that right now if you're 65 and older you're automatically eligible," Murphy said. "If you're under 65 and you have a chronic condition, you've been eligible since January. That continues to be the case."

READ MOREDr. Max Gomez Q&A With Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel: Will The Shots Cover New Variants, Will We Need Boosters Or Annual Vaccines?

Murphy never answered why New Jersey is stuck at 65, but he did say he believes everyone will be able to at least register for an appointment by May 1.

Compared to the rest of the country, Dr. Perry Halkitis, the dean of the Rutgers School of Public Health, said New Jersey is ahead of the curve.

"When we get to Passover, Easter time in April we're going to see a lot more vaccine in the country because the Production Act has kicked in," Halkitis said.

Halkitis believes New Jersey will achieve herd immunity among adults by this summer.

In the meantime, the governor said he may have another announcement later this week.


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