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The start of the new school year is fast-approaching and the Burlington County Health Department is planning to hold several pop-up vaccine clinics during the next several weeks to ensure easy access to COVID-19 shots for eligible children and adults who are still not vaccinated.
The department will be offering Pfizer vaccine at the upcoming clinics because children 12 and up are eligible to receive it. But because Pfizer requires two shots spaced three weeks apart to become fully effective, officials are stressing the importance of getting eligible children vaccinated soon to ensure they are protected before the start of school in September.
“Every eligible student that gets vaccinated increases the overall protection of their school and reduces the chances of an outbreak disrupting the school year or extracurricular activities,” Dr. Herb Conaway, Director of the Health Department said. “We want all our students to have a normal school year, but to do that we need every eligible student to have the protection the vaccine provides. We want them to have it before their first day, so they need to get their first dose during the next few weeks. We’re scheduling extra clinics to accommodate them. The path to an uninterrupted school year is vaccination.”
The pop-up vaccine clinics will be held on the following dates and times:
All eight pop-up clinics will feature Pfizer vaccine in order to accommodate children 12 to 17 years-old. Adults 18 and up are also welcome to get vaccinated at the clinics.
In addition to those clinics, the Deborah Heart and Lung Center in Pemberton Township is also administering Pfizer vaccine during an upcoming walk-up clinic on July 28 at the Deborah Medical Office Building, 6 Earlin Avenue in Browns Mills. That clinic will run from 4 PM to 6 PM.
The Burlington County Health Department is also continuing to administer vaccine four days a week at its fixed clinic sites. Simply walk-in. No appointment necessary. Those clinics run on the following schedule:
Appointments for the clinics can be made by online using the online registry at covid19.gov/pages/finder or by calling 1-855-568-0545. Walk-ins without appointments are also welcome.
All four clinics will offer both the Moderna vaccine and single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccines. People who receive the Moderna shot will be informed of their second-dose date.
Across Burlington County, more than 246,000 residents are now vaccinated, amounting to around 62% of the county’s eligible population. Only eight New Jersey counties have higher vaccination rates.
Despite the overall success, Conaway stressed that those who remain unvaccinated remain vulnerable, especially with the Delta variant of COVID-19 now the predominant strain in New Jersey.
The variant, which was first reported in India, is rapidly spreading among unvaccinated populations and is believed to be fueling a recent rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
Since July 1, Burlington County has had 257 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 or about 12 new cases a day, and 11 new deaths.
“The Delta variant represents a new threat in our battle against the virus. It’s highly transmissible and we’re beginning to see it spread rapidly in the United States among younger, unvaccinated persons,” said Conaway. “The good news is that the vaccines offer proven protection. The most effective way for us to beat back all variants of the virus is for everyone who is eligible to roll up their sleeves and get vaccinated.”
Burlington County Commissioner Deputy Director Dan O’Connell also encouraged unvaccinated residents to reconsider, describing it as the key to ending the pandemic and making sure more lives aren’t lost.
“We’ve come a long way and made tremendous progress since the pandemic started, but we know there are still significant numbers of our residents who are not yet protected,” said O’Connell, who is the Board’s liaison to the Health Department. “We don’t want to take a step back and lose more people to this terrible disease, so we’re asking those who haven’t gotten the shot to reconsider. You’ll be protecting yourself but also your loved ones and others around you.”
Appointments for other vaccination clinics across New Jersey can be made by online using the online registry at covid19.gov/pages/finder or by calling 1-855-568-0545. Most of those clinic offer walk-in appointment as well.
Photo: A Burlington County Health Department nurse administers COVID-19 vaccine to a resident during a vaccine clinic at the Burlington County Emergency Services Training Center in Westampton.