Updated: April 5, 2021
As this is an evolving situation, we will provide updated information as it becomes available.
In December 2020, the first COVID-19 vaccines were made available in NJ. New Jersey's vaccination plan includes phased distribution. All three vaccines currently available are safe and effective in preventing severe illness and death when administered as directed. Unless otherwise directed by your healthcare provider, there is no need to “shop around” for a specific vaccine. Generally speaking, residents should take the first vaccine available to them.
As of April 5, 2021, 1,796,798 adults are fully vaccinated in the state. Check the progress to the goal of 4.7 million here.
New Jersey has launched a beta version of their new Appointment Finder at covid19.nj.gov/finder. Appointments are still limited, but this new tool will take some of the stress out of your search.
Who is Eligible to Receive the Vaccine?
Beginning on April 5, 2021 vaccines were made available to residents in the following categories:
- Age 55+;
- Individuals Age 16+ with Intellectual & Development Disabilities;
- Higher Education Educators & Support Staff;
- Communications, IT & Press;
- Real Estate, Building, and Home Service Workers;
- Retail Financial Intuition Workers;
- Sanitation Workers;
- Laundry Service Workers;
- Utility Workers;
- Librarians & Library Support Staff
On April 19, 2021 vaccines will be available to all residents age 16+
Residents in the previously announced categories still remain eligible to receive the vaccine:
- Paid and unpaid persons serving in health care settings who have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials and long-term care residents and staff;
- Sworn police and fire personnel;
- Residents 65 and older;
- Residents between the ages of 16-64 with medical conditions, as defined by CDC, that increase the risk of severe illness from the virus;
- Pre-K through 12th grade teachers;
- Child care workers;
- Motor Vehicle Commission workers;
- NJ Transit workers/other transportation workers;
- Public safety personnel that were not previously eligible;
- Tribal community members;
- Migrant farmers;
- People who are homeless or living shelters;
Can I Get a Vaccine at the Madison Health Department?
The Madison Health Department is not currently a COVID-19 vaccination site. Morris County’s primary vaccination site is located at the state “mega-site” located at the Rockaway Townsquare Mall. More information about vaccination resources in Morris County are available on the county website.
Like many aspects of the COVID-19 public health emergency, the vaccination program in NJ is a rapidly changing and ever evolving situation. New Jersey’s COVID-19 Information Hub will have the most up-to-date information on NJ COVID-19 vaccination program.
Previously established Zufall Health patients will be contacted by secure message when they are eligible. For more information, please click here.
Need Further Assistance?
As the Madison Health Department is not currently a COVID-19 vaccination site, staff at our local health department can only provide limited information regarding appointments or registration for the vaccination program. If you need assistance contact:
Dedicated Assistance for Residents 65 & Older
Senior Residents 65+ can call the dedicated New Jersey Senior COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline between 8:00 A.M. and 8:00 P.M. at 856-249-7007. Agents can assist with:
- Registering for the NJ Vaccine Scheduling System (NJVSS)
- Scheduling appointments at NJVSS sites, including Senior only appointments at Walmart and Shop Rite locations
- Rescheduling Appointments as needed
New Jersey State Resources for All Residents
- Schedule online or pre-register for the New Jersey Vaccination Program via the NJ Vaccination Scheduling System (NJVSS)
- NJVSS Online Help is available if you’ve already registered in NJVSS and have encountered difficulty
- List of public and private vaccination locations
- NJ COVID-19 Vaccination Call Center Toll-Free: 1-855-568-0545
Morris County Resources
- Schedule online for the Morris County Regional Vaccination Site in Rockaway
- Morris County COVID-19 Call Center: 973-829-8250
COVID-19 Vaccines are free to all who live, work or are educated in New Jersey. Some locations may ask for medical insurance information, but it is not required to schedule an appointment or to receive your vaccine.
Never give credit or debit card information, social security number or bank account number to someone calling claiming to be able to make, change or cancel your vaccine appointment.
How Does The Vaccine Work?
Generally, vaccines work by triggering a person's immune system to develop protection against a disease. COVID-19 vaccines help our bodies develop immunity to the virus that causes COVID-19 without us having to get the illness. Different types of vaccines work in different ways to offer protection.
There are three vaccines which are authorized via FDA Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to be used in New Jersey.
Two are known as messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines. One has been developed by Pfizer and the other by Moderna. Unlike many other vaccines, which put a weakened or inactivated germ into our bodies, mRNA vaccines instruct our cells how to make a specific protein—or even just a piece of a protein—that triggers an immune response inside our bodies. That immune response, which produces antibodies, is what protects us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies.
Both mRNA vaccines require two doses and have proven to be highly effective in preventing symptomic infection of COVID-19 with efficacy rates in the mid-90% range shortly after the second dose has been administered.
The third vaccine, developed by Johnson & Johnson is a viral vector vaccine and only requires a single dose. Viral vector vaccines use a modified version of a different virus—the vector—to deliver important instructions to our cells. For COVID-19 viral vector vaccines, the vector (not the virus that causes COVID-19, but a different, harmless virus) will enter a cell in our body and then use the cell's machinery to produce a harmless piece of the virus that causes COVID-19. This piece is known as a spike protein and it is only found on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19.
Learn more about COVID-19 Vaccines.
Is the Vaccine Safe?
COVID-19 vaccines that are authorized for use have gone through clinical trials involving tens of thousands of participants to determine their safety and efficacy.
The known and potential benefits of approved vaccines outweigh the known and potential harms of becoming infected with COVID-19.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs) for COVID-19 vaccines which have been shown to be safe and effective as determined by data from the manufacturers and findings from clinical trials. Learn More.
Once Vaccinated, Am I Exempt from COVID-19 Policies?
Generally, after you receive the full course of vaccine you should still abide by current COVID-19 regulations, policies and best practices including: wearing a face covering; practicing social distancing; washing your hands often and alike.
Residents who are fully vaccinated can, in accordance with the CDC:
- Gather indoors with fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart;
- No longer are required to self-quarantine or get tested before or after domestic travel
However, fully vaccinated residents who have close contact with someone with COVID-19 do not need to quarantine if they meet all of the following criteria:
- It has been at least 14 days since your final dose of vaccine, AND
- Are within 3 months following receipt of the last dose in the series, AND
- Have remained asymptomatic since your most recent COVID-19 exposure.
If you do not meet all of the above criteria you should follow standard quarantine protocols. While you do not need to quarantine, you should still watch for symptoms of COVID-19 for the 14 days following an exposure. If you experience symptoms, you should begin isolation and get a COVID-19 test.
As more community members are vaccinated and the COVID-19 public health emergency abates we can all celebrate together as restrictions are eased. Until that time continue to help the fight by getting the vaccine when you can and following the health guidance issued by local, state and federal agencies.