Who can get the vaccine right now in New Jersey?

New Jersey is in phase 1B of vaccine distribution. People 65 and older and people 16 and older with high-risk medical conditions are eligible for the vaccine as of Thursday. Health-care workers, nursing home residents and staff, and first responders were already eligible and can continue getting vaccinated.

How do I know if I qualify as high-risk?

People who qualify for the vaccine now are those with medical conditions defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as increasing the risk of severe illness from COVID-19. They include:

  • Cancer
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  • Down syndrome
  • Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
  • Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 kg/m2 or higher but < 40 kg/m2)
  • Severe obesity (BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2)
  • Sickle-cell disease
  • Smoking
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus
  • People who are pregnant or immunocompromised from a solid organ transplant are eligible but advised to discuss vaccination with their medical provider first

How do I show I’m eligible?

The state is not requiring documentation of age or medical conditions, according to the state health department.

Do I need an appointment?

Yes. Shots are by appointment only. According to the state, you can make an appointment at one of the designated sites statewide (a full list is here) or preregister on the state scheduling system to be notified when you become eligible to make an appointment. Many health-care workers can also get the vaccine through their employers.

How soon will I actually get my vaccine?

With about 4.5 million additional people cleared to receive the vaccine, Gov. Phil Murphy said those who are eligible now could face wait times of six to eight weeks, depending on how many doses the state receives from the federal government.

Do I have to pay?

No. The vaccine is free for all, even if you don’t have health insurance.

I’m not in any of those groups. When can I get the shot?

The vaccine will next be opened up to frontline essential workers. State officials have not said when that will occur. After that, phase 1C will start, which makes other essential workers eligible. Last, Phase 2 will open the vaccine up to the general population. The exact timeline for moving into the next phases depends on how quickly the vaccine supply grows.

New Jersey residents can preregister for the vaccine. All people who preregister will be notified when they are eligible to get the shot, according to the state.