By Elliott Nyugen
Gov. Murphy announced that new vaccination locations would be open to New Jersey residents beginning in February at stores like CVS and Rite Aid, according to reporting from NJ.com.
CVS alone has opened 27 new free vaccination clinics at some of its locations in the state, as of Feb. 11. Vaccines are only available through appointments, which can be booked on the CVS website. Walk-ins are not permitted.
The available locations are in Brigantine, Cedar Grove, Chatham, Dumont, East Brunswick, Edison, Elizabeth, Flemington, Green Book, Hackettstown, Harrison Township, Hazlet, Highlands, Ledgewood, Northvale, Princeton, Ridgewood, Seaside Heights, Tabernacle, Union, Union City, Vernon, Villas, Vineland, Vorhees, West Orange and Whiting.
Rite-Aid has also announced that it will soon offer vaccination appointments in roughly 70 of its New Jersey stores. Though the chain currently has a limited supply of the vaccine, it will gradually receive more over time, spokesperson Chris Savarese told NJ.com.
According to the website, those eligible for the vaccine include people older than 65 years old, “people age 16+ with medical conditions as defined by the CDC” and first responders.
Some students who have already been vaccinated spoke of their experience.
“Registering was very easy,” said junior biology major Gillian Belkin, who received her Moderna vaccination in a process that began in mid-January and ended several days ago. “I made an appointment online about a week before I actually received the vaccine. I filled out my name, date of birth, the basic stuff needed for registering. They did not need proof of my medical license.”
She was eligible due to her work in a pharmacy. She also noted that now since eligibility has expanded, the application process may be different.
Sophomore political science major Khushi Kanda received her first dose of the Moderna vaccine at Capitol Health. Like Belkin, Kanda was considered eligible due to her employment. She said that she was able to get her registration ID quickly, but making an appointment took 12 days, and that her friends have encountered similar issues.
“All that I had was a headache. I felt a little hot, my arm was very very sore,” she said of the side effects of her first dose. She is currently awaiting her second dose. When asked about her belief in the vaccine’s effectiveness, she said she felt “very confident given the research and stats coming out.”
Corinne Worts, a sophomore nursing major who finished her vaccination process in early February, said the side effects she experienced were minimal. “My first dose that night, I spiked a low grade fever but … I took a Tylenol and it was gone. Other than that my arm hurt for about three days. With the second shot … all I had was that arm pain.”
She also commented on her confidence in the vaccine. “I’d say 50/50 … But I would say after being vaccinated I’m definitely still going to continue wearing a mask and social distancing. I don’t really leave my house much but I think it…eases the anxiety around being able to start to have a more normal feeling life, see a friend or two and not feel like I’ll come home and get my whole family sick.”
Pfizer and Moderna, the two most common vaccines available, are increasing production and will supply the U.S. with hundreds of millions of doses in the coming year according to the New York Times.
Other vaccines from manufacturers like Novavax, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson are still awaiting approval by the U.S. and are at various stages of development.