That comes amid statewide efforts to vaccinate 4.7 million New Jersey adults by June 30, a metric that health officials contend is vital to rolling back COVID-19 restrictions on businesses and public gatherings.
“Now that supply and eligibility have expanded, it’s even more important for us to reach underserved and vulnerable populations to ensure equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine,” reads a statement from Dr. Cheryl Pegus, executive vice president of health and wellness at Walmart.
“Widespread vaccination is the only way we will eventually end the pandemic and help our country reopen, and we don’t want anyone to get left behind as we enter this new chapter in our fight against COVID-19,” she added.
State data show that 3.2 million New Jersey adults have been vaccinated as of May 4, out of 7.5 million total doses. Vaccine hesitancy and overall apathy have triggered a slowdown in the rates by which people are being vaccinated.
In response, state health officials are ramping up an aggressive marketing effort that includes free beer at one of 13 breweries across the state for those who get their first shot this month, and a free ride on New Jersey transit to your vaccine appointments.
Despite just 262,476 doses coming from J&J, state officials are hoping the shots can be used to vaccinate harder to reach populations like the urban neighborhoods, the elderly and the homeless.