NEW JERSEY — Starting Monday, vaccination sites across New Jersey can begin giving the COVID-19 vaccine to residents aged 16 and older, two weeks ahead of Gov. Phil Murphy’s original schedule.
The governor announced the news earlier in April, the same day that the state’s age of eligibility had dropped to 55 years and older.
Murphy and state health officials previously planned to expand eligibility to all residents by May 1. The governor said he felt confident about moving the date up based on the federal government’s projected weekly vaccine allotments for the state.
The expansion comes nearly a week after New Jersey and several other states halted the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The “pause” came at the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as the Food and Drug Administration, while the agencies investigate at least six cases of rare but severe blood clotting in vaccine recipients.
However, Murphy assured the public on Wednesday that the J&J suspension would not affect the state’s ability to lower the age of vaccine eligibility.
Vaccine eligibility isn’t just expanding in the Garden State. President Joe Biden announced earlier in April that vaccine eligibility would expand nationwide to anyone 16 and older on April 19, as well.
But eligibility isn’t the same as actually being vaccinated. Being eligible means people can sign up to reserve their place in a virtual line until they can schedule an appointment.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.