Two hospitals and two government agencies are getting a combined $45 million from the Biden administration for their COVID-19 efforts, according to a June 17 announcement from the state’s two senators.
RWJBarnabas Health is slated to get $26.3 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, while Hackensack Meridian Health is getting $11.5 million, reads the joint news release from the offices of U.S. Sens. Cory Booker and Robert Menendez, both Democrats.
The New Jersey State Police is getting $4.5 million, while Essex County – from which Booker hails – is getting $3.4 million.
“While we have made significant progress in the battle against the coronavirus pandemic, we must ensure New Jersey has the federal funding required to continue to respond to this crisis,” Booker said. “This grant money will help ensure that our state and our hospitals have the critical resources necessary to protect the health and well-being of our residents.”
With the state in the tail-end of the COVID-19 pandemic, health care and state officials have turned their attention to vaccinating the last tranche of New Jerseyans ahead of the state’s self-imposed goal of 4.7 million adults by June 30.
According to the New Jersey Department of Health, the state has fully vaccinated nearly 4.5 million people who live, work or study in New Jersey. After the 4.7 million mark, the Murphy administration’s efforts will shift to the 12 to 17 age group. The shots are a key step to permanently lifting the myriad of restrictions on businesses, public gatherings and travel that have been in place over the past 15 months to halt the spread of the virus.
Efforts to encourage that final round of inoculations include intense public messaging, incentives, perks, bringing vaccine sites to local neighborhoods and sites like religious establishments, and outreach to minority communities, as vaccination rates nationwide – and in New Jersey – reflect African American and Hispanic communities lagging in getting the vaccine. Many Black and Brown New Jerseyans said they are still not willing to get the vaccine–and at a much higher rate than other demographics.