NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – As of Monday, everyone 16 and up in the United States is eligible to get the COVID vaccine.
The rule has already been in effect for New York and Connecticut, but now it starts in New Jersey, too.
As CBS2’s John Dias reports, seniors lined up outside the COVID-19 vaccination site at Essex Community College to get their second shot.
“I have faith in the vaccine,” one told Dias.
Now, younger generations can join in, since as of Monday, there are new rules in New Jersey for who can get a COVID vaccine.
All adults qualify, 16 and up, no matter their health condition or occupation.
“If expanding it to that age, and they say they want to do it, then great for them,” said Newark resident John Teabout.
“We can’t exclude young people because of their age,” said Ed Kelly.
Kelly just hopes the new age group follows through with booking appointments.
“You have a lot of people running around here, not vaccinated, they can spread the virus,” Kelly said.
Gov. Phil Murphy says the state is still on track to reach its goal of fully vaccinating 70% of the adult population by June 30, but herd immunity can only be reached if this new group complies.
“I don’t think young people should be getting the vaccine,” said 18-year-old Zaniyyah Obery.
“I’m kind of a little bit unsure about it because what happened with Johnson & Johnson,” said Newark resident Imani Smith.
The new eligibility meets President Joe Biden‘s national deadline for all states and territories to open vaccine appointments to all adults by April 19th. Earlier this month, he moved it up from May 1, while issuing a stark message to not let our guards down.
“We are still in a life and death race against [the] virus,” Biden said.
In Newark, the mayor is stressing the importance of still social distancing and wearing a face mask.
“People are still dying, and who are you to determine who gets to live and who gets to die? And it’s OK if three people die, instead of 30 people, since only 3 die doesn’t mean you have to wear a mask? That’s not the way I think,” said Mayor Ras Baraka.
There are now almost seven million people in New Jersey who are eligible for a vaccine.
More than one-third of adults have already been fully vaccinated in the Garden State.