TOMS RIVER, NJ – In January, the New Jersey Department of Health cut Ocean County’s monthly vaccine number by 40%, instead, sending those vaccines to lower-income and impoverished areas of the state. It was part of Governor Phil Murphy’s vaccine equality platform.
Now, the state is taking another 400 vaccines away from Ocean County Health officials. This comes after the Department of Health delivered 3,400 doses of the Moderna vaccine and now, they want some of them back. The problem is appointments have been scheduled.
Ocean County is home to one of the largest populations of senior citizens who choose to retire in the comfort of the Jersey Shore. Many have been in queues for a vaccine since January.
The county has received 177,000 doses to date, including first and second doses.
The move caught the Ocean County Health Department by surprise.
Officials within the Ocean County government said off the record today, they believe Murphy is playing politics with the vaccine. They believe the governor is redistributing vaccines from Ocean County which voted against him in 2017 in to counties where he can muster more votes in the 2021 election.
“Many of our residents can’t get vaccinated here in Ocean County,” the official said. “They are having to go down to Atlantic City or wherever they work during the day because they can’t get an appointment here. There aren’t enough for the large population of senior citizens we have.”
The official who spoke on the condition of anonymity was concerned about the Murphy administration taking away more from Ocean County if they went on record with their complaints.