Ocean County Lawmakers Call on Gov. Murphy for More Senior Access to Vaccine
It's been a zoo in order to try and get a vaccine at any age, with any condition especially since an additional phase and more qualifications were announced this week.
In Ocean County, which has about 200,000 senior citizens, the most in the state and those who have always been in the more vulnerable category, those in the 65 and older crowd have trouble scheduling or even attending their vaccination appointment of late.
That's why Ocean County 10th District legislators, Senator Jim Holzapfel and Assemblymen Greg McGuckin and John Catalano penned a letter to Governor Murphy calling on him to allow for COVID-19 vaccinations to be offered at senior communities.
“Since the rollout of the vaccine, our office has been inundated with calls from residents of senior communities who have been waiting patiently to receive the vaccine but still do not have clarity on how or when it will happen,” Senator Holzapfel said in a statement. “Some elderly residents either do not drive or have a disability that prevents them from traveling easily to other vaccination sites. We could address those concerns and vaccinate as many seniors as possible by sending mobile units directly to each senior community.”
The 10th District legislators note that Ocean County has just six designated vaccination sites, while Essex County has twelve.
The amount of vaccination sites in Ocean County being this low has raised some eyebrows and already overwhelmed the system at the Ocean County Health Department who saw their website and phones either crash or go down this week when 100,000 people tried booking an appointment on top of the 25,000 already in the books.
Basically, you're waiting until March right now to get a vaccine the way things currently stand.
For seniors, it's been a real struggle.
“If they somehow manage to get an appointment, our seniors then have to rely on family or friends to bring them to a crowded vaccination site, where they are at greater risk of being exposed to someone with the virus,” Assemblyman McGuckin said. “Vaccinating seniors within the relative safety of their communities is something that should be easy to accomplish with the help of the Governor’s Office.”
“The willingness of our seniors to get vaccinated isn’t the issue,” Assemblyman Catalano said. “In fact, both the 55 and older community board members and the residents themselves want to get vaccinated as soon as possible so they can begin to put this pandemic behind them. Let’s alleviate this burden for these seniors and make accessing the vaccine easier for the generation that has already suffered so much.”
So, will Governor Murphy respond?