This post originally written by WJBR Digital Production Intern, Elyse DiPisa. DiPisa is a sophomore Media Communications student at the University of Delaware from Montgomery County, PA. Along with being a Digital Content Intern for WJBR, Elyse also works for the university’s Student Television Network 49 News Program and as a tour guide for the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.
The New Jersey Department of Health has been in the process of mobilizing COVID-19 vaccination sites in the form of vans.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy ordered three vans thanks to federal funding back in November of 2020 as part of the state’s COVID-19 Immunization plan, and they have recently received the custom vehicles.
Murphy’s plan is to utilize these vehicles in bringing the vaccine to communities and people throughout the state who may lack the ability to get to Coronavirus vaccination sites or schedule online appointments.
The NJ state Health Department’s chief spokeswoman Donna Leusner told NBC News in an email that the “Three mobile units will be placed in the northern, central and southern parts of the state and will go into underserved communities including congregate settings, such as high-rise senior centers.”
These big blue vans are equipped with specialized refrigerators to ensure proper vaccine transportation and storage. The vehicles also have multiple partitions for individuals to receive vaccinations comfortably inside, and are clearly marked on the outside with “Rapid Mobile Response Team” and “NJ Department of Health”.
Other states are also utilizing similar mobile vaccination vans, including Connecticut, California, New Mexico, South Carolina, Virginia, and soon, Tennessee.
Murphy and the NJDOH are shooting to have these vans on the road as soon as possible. Murphy told NBC to look for these vans coming into communities, and vocalized how he wants individuals to “get used to seeing these vans.”
Murphy announced that beginning on Monday, April 19, all New Jersey state residents 16 years of age and older will be eligible for the vaccine. Nearby Pennsylvania will also be following this guideline starting on April 19. Delaware and Maryland have already integrated this eligibility as of this past Tuesday, April 6.
According to the state’s website, 38% of NJ residents have received at least one dose, with approximately 22.6% being fully-vaccinated. With the additional opportunities for vaccinations that these vans provide, numbers will only increase from here on out.