If you are not yet vaccinated, the Ocean County Board of Commissioners (formerly Freeholders) want you to know that it’s time to do so, now. The county has begun the transition from big regional COVID 19 vaccination sites to smaller locations as the effort continues to make vaccine accessibility as easy as possible.
“I want to encourage all the people who live in Ocean County that can get this vaccine to do so,” said the Director of the Ocean County Board of Commissioners Gary Quinn. “We want to see this infection level to continue to decrease and the only way this will happen is to have people get vaccinated.”
If you live in Toms River, Brick, Jackson or Lakewood, the commissioners are saying your towns aren’t vaccinated enough.
“I have always said we would not be successful in getting our residents vaccinated unless everyone became a partner in this effort. From hospitals, health care agencies, doctors, pharmacies and a host of others,” Commissioner Gerry Little said. “This effort has been monumental and it continues today.”
Little noted the Board of Commissioners along with the Ocean County Health Department continues to encourage all residents to get vaccinated.
In doing so, the commissioners have announced the closures of the Southern Regional and Toms RIver High School North mega sites.
“The large sites which could accommodate thousands of vaccinations daily have served us well, and we are very appreciative that Toms River Regional School District and Southern Regional School District stepped up without hesitation and provided their schools and staff so that we could get this vaccine to our residents,” he said. “The assistance they gave us is immeasurable.”
Ocean County began the vaccine distribution at the end of 2020.
The two largest vaccination clinics run by the Ocean County Health Department – the Southern Regional Middle School, Stafford Township and the RWJ Barnabas Health Care Arena at Toms River Regional High School North – will no longer be vaccination sites as of July 1.
Rather, the Ocean County Health Department will hold clinics at the Ocean County Health Department, 175 Sunset Ave., Toms River, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays, through July and a drive through clinic will be held at Ocean County College, Hooper Avenue, Toms River, from 9 a.m. to noon, Wednesdays, through July.
There are 13 additional sites throughout the County that will serve as vaccine clinic sites on various days throughout the month of July. Locations, dates and times can be found on the Ocean County Health Department website at ochd.org or Facebook page.
“Starting the week of July 5, on various dates, our residents can visit some local library branches, some schools and the Ocean County Fire and First Aid Training Center in Waretown to get the COVID 19 vaccination,” Little said. “All the locations are easily accessible and convenience is key for a lot of our citizens.”
According to Daniel Regenye, Ocean County Public Health Coordinator, the Health Department has provided more than 110,200 vaccines. In addition, the vaccines have also been provided by health care agencies, pharmacies, and hospitals throughout the County.
“We continue to promote the importance of getting vaccinated,” Regenye said. “It’s so important we keep up the momentum and make certain we have as many locations as possible that people can access.”
Like the national trend, Ocean County began to see the number of people getting vaccinated decline a few months after the initial announcements of vaccine availability.
Little noted that the State has identified five Ocean County municipalities – Brick, Jackson, Lakewood, Toms River and Lacey townships – as areas where vaccination rates need to be increased.
“Ocean County is here to help get this done,” Little said. “Clearly the vaccine is helping and has allowed the lifting of many restrictions including wearing masks to eating indoors at restaurants.”
He added however that the virus continues to be in Ocean County and the new variant, the delta variant has been found in Ocean County.
“This is not over,” he said. “We need to continue to be vigilant and to take precautions like staying home when you’re sick, hand sanitizing and just a greater awareness in general.”
Ocean County has recorded 66,048 cases of the coronavirus since March of 2020.