When the COVID booster shot campaign was launched last week, state health officials braced for an onslaught of New Jersey residents seeking to get the follow-up shot.

But the big initial supply-demand imbalance that had been predicted never happened, and as a result, many locations across the Garden State have immediate, same-day appointments available.

Gov. Phil Murphy thinks with all of the discussion and recommendations about boosters over the past month, there is confusion about who can and should or should not get the shot right now.

More than a million New Jersey residents are eligible for booster shots and “we need you to get out there and get them," Murphy said.

The governor said he understands some people may feel hesitant or confused about boosters but “the CDC would not have recommended this unless it felt strongly that this was the right public health step to take.”

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“The immune system really does start to not be as robust as we get older, and 65 is about the age where we say you should get this booster shot for COVID," infectious disease expert Dr. Meg Fisher of the New Jersey Health Department said

She stressed this is not only the case with the COVID vaccine but other ones as well, including the flu shot, which has a special higher dose formula for those over the age of 65.

Fisher noted younger people with medical issues and those in high-exposure jobs may also need an extra dose of vaccine to give them added protection from the virus.

Murphy said as a member of the National Governor’s Association he has spoken to the White House about the situation and told them “we need over the top national help that would impact us clearly with the messaging as to who is eligible and why you need to do this and why it makes sense.”

COVID booster shots are available for those who completed their Pfizer two-shot course at least six months ago, and are 65 or older, or are ages 18 to 64 with an underlying medical condition that would make them more susceptible to getting the virus.

Boosters are also available for those who work or reside in high-risk situations.

You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com.

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