What to Know About Getting a COVID Vaccine, from Maplewood’s Public Health Officer

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As new information about COVID-19 variants emerges, it is even more important for people to get vaccinated. Yet many people have expressed frustration and concern about how to navigate the registration process and get an appointment.

Currently, South Orange and Maplewood residents are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine if they meet certain criteria: individuals aged 65 and older, persons 18-64 with high-risk medical conditions, healthcare workers and first responders. See more information here.

Residents can be vaccinated at at the former Sears at Livingston Mall, as well as at certain mega sites, private hospitals and healthcare facilities.

See the full list here.

Meanwhile, Essex County is at extremely high risk for transmission, with 633 new COVID-19 cases reported on Friday The New York Times reports that January has been the worst month for cases in the county, and that since the beginning of the pandemic, at least one in 13 residents have been infected.

Village Green recently asked Maplewood Health Officer Candice Davenport some questions about the COVID-19 vaccine:

Where and how can people register to receive a COVID-19 vaccine?

There are two ways:

  • https://covid19.nj.gov/pages/vaccine — Go to the state page to register for notifications from the state when you are eligible. If you are eligible, the state will contact you via email and provide you with a list of designated vaccine sites. Each person is then responsible to sign themselves up at a vaccine site for an appointment. In Essex County, one of the places the state will list are the County Vaccination Sites.
  • You can register directly with Essex County to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment at www.essexcovid.org or by calling call (973) 877-8456. (Essex County on Friday announced additional testing sites.) If you are eligible, the system will contact you via email with a date and time. When you register on essexcovid.org do not expect a date and time immediately. Your information will go into a queue, and as vaccines are made available, you will be assigned a date and time, so check your email regularly.

Please note that there is a wait time for appointments due to vaccine shortage which is dependent on the manufacturing, distribution and allocation of the vaccine.

Are these the only pre-existing conditions that now make people eligible to receive the vaccine now under group 1B? What about other conditions that were on the list and now are not (e.g., asthma, Type 1 diabetes)?


    Chronic kidney disease

    COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)

    Down Syndrome

    Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies

    Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 kg/m2 or higher but < 40 kg/m2)

    Severe Obesity (BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2)

    Sickle cell disease


    Type 2 diabetes mellitus

Based on the CDC website, the diseases or pre-existing conditions above have demonstrated increased risk of disease. So it is not that asthma or type 1 diabetes wouldn’t be at increased risk. It is just that there is limited data of the effects of COVID-19 on people with those conditions at this time. As more data comes in, they may move to the list that has known increased risk for COVID-19. That being said, anyone with a pre-existing condition on any of these lists should register but especially those who have the conditions above.

When can teachers get vaccinated? They are technically in 1B, and Murphy recently said they were “on deck.”


How long should people in groups after 1A expect to wait for a vaccine?

Hopefully they will open more, but currently there is not enough vaccine allocated at this time to keep up with the current demand among those who are eligible.

When might children be cleared to receive the vaccine?


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