Equitable Distribution of COVID-19 Vaccine Needed in Ocean County, NJ - A County With the Most Senior Citizens and One of the Highest Infection and Death Rates in NJ

  • by: Kirstin Kestner
  • recipient: Governor Phil Murphy of New Jersey and Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli

The petition, along with your comments, was sent to Governor Murphy on 3/19/21.  If you did not sign the petition and would still like you voice to be heard you can use the NJ State contact form at https://www.nj.gov/governor/contact/all/

Equitable distribution of the vaccine is needed now to save lives and address the desperate need of our most vulnerable citizens who are currently being underserved in Ocean County, NJ.

Ocean County, NJ has:

  • One of the highest Covid-19 death rates and regularly ranks number 1 in NJ for the 7-day average of Covid-19 deaths per capita
  • The highest number of senior citizens of any county in NJ
  • The highest number of confirmed cases of the more contagious B-1117 variant in NJ
  • The 3rd highest number of Covid-19 infections per capita in NJ.

Yet in late January, Governor Phil Murphy and the New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli reduced the county's vaccine allowance by 40% to just 2,900 doses per week. There have been some reports of a slight increase since then, but Ocean County continues to be underserved in allocation of vaccine doses.

Sign the petition today to tell Governor Murphy and Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli that the state needs to provide a more equitable distribution of the COVID-19 Vaccine to Ocean County, NJ.

We are requesting that Governor Murphy and Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli not only increase the number of doses available in Ocean County but also establish a site of distribution in Ocean County that includes both phone and internet scheduling thus allowing seniors and low income residents to schedule appointments even if they do not have internet access.

Ocean County is the 6th largest county in NJ yet it ranks lowest half of NJ's 21 counties in vaccines delivered per 100,000 residents. Not because the county is failing to get the vaccines into arms, but because the state is failing to deliver enough vaccines to Ocean County and disproportionately distributing vaccines to other counties instead.

When looking at the death rate per capita since the start of the pandemic the injustice and inequity in distribution of vaccines to Ocean County becomes very clear.

Ocean County consistently ranks in the top 3 out of all of New Jersey's 21 counties in regard to deaths per capita from COVID-19. Often when looking at the 7-day average, Ocean County's death rate regularly ranks number 1 in the state.

Seniors are at most risk of dying from the virus. According to the Ocean County Health Department's COVID-19 Reporting website just over 85% of the COVID-19 related deaths in Ocean County have been in those age 65 and over.

Mega sites are more than an hour's drive away. A distance many of our seniors and low-income residents are unable to drive. Small vaccine sites have such limited appointments that they are filling within minutes and there are only a tiny few of those sites in the county. To compound the problem, a large portion of our county's seniors and low-income residents are unable to access the internet to even attempt to schedule an appointment.

This is an urgent request. Not only due to the high level of mortality and infection in Ocean County, but also due to the fact that Ocean County has the highest know rate of infection with the more contagious B117 variant.

Given the already high infection and death rate combined with this proliferation of the new B117 variant, Ocean County faces the risk of an increasing spike in cases and deaths while other counties may continue to see decreases.

We find it inexcusable that Governor Phil Murphy felt it appropriate to reduce the available number of vaccinations by 40% in the one county with the highest senior population and with one of the highest infection and deaths rates.

Local Health and County officials have been trying to secure more vaccines from the state with little to no success. 

A central vaccine site in Ocean County is needed. One that can accommodate all residents eligible for the vaccine and can allow for phone scheduling of appointments for those unable to use the internet.

An equitable and accessible distribution of vaccines to Ocean County residents, especially our senior citizens and low-income population, is needed immediately.

Sign and share the petition today.


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