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Getting An Appointment For The COVID -19 Vaccination Wasn't Easy

IMG_4959Entrance to the Gloucester County Vaccination Center, at Rowan College, Sewell (CNBNews photo)


William E. Cleary Sr. | CNBNews

SEWELL, NJ (February 1, 2021)--We tried for some time to make an appointment for our COVID vaccination with the NJ Health Department. We are classified as 1B because of age and health ailments.  For two-weeks, we logged on to their website and had no success. Finally, Saturday morning, January 23, around 1 AM we gave it a try and lucked out.  We were given two dates, one for later that day and the other for Sunday, January 24, 2021, at 11:45 AM.  Both were for the Gloucester County Health Mega Site, located at the Rowan College of SJ College Center, Sewell.

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--On a cold frigid day people were waiting on standby outside the Gloucester County Health Mega site with the hope that they might get lucky and be chosen to receive the vaccine of someone who didn't keep their appointment.  (CNBNews photo)

We arrived Sunday, at 11:30 AM.  It was sunny but cold, 32 degrees and the strong wind made it colder.  From the parking lot, we could see a long line of people standing outside the doors of one of the many buildings on the campus.  We quickly learned those individuals didn't have an appointment; they were waiting on standby for one of the slots that might open if someone didn't show up for their appointed time.  

A police officer told us on one day last week there were 150 people in that same line, some of who waited for five hours or more for an opening. At 7 PM that evening 30 people were admitted, the remainder were sent away.

Even after you schedule an appointment you're not guaranteed that you will be able to keep it. It seems a glitch in the state's computer system has caused double booking for the same time. As a result, the state sent cancellation notices to a large number of people who had thought they were going to get their first vaccination over the next couple of days. Those people had to go back start over.

"Now for everyone one vaccine we have, we have two individuals with appointments," Gloucester County Commissioner Director Robert M. Damminger said, according to The Patch. "The Gloucester County Mega Site is now dealing with yet another catastrophe we did not create. This did not deter us from serving the public."

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At the entrance of the building we were asked for our documents and had our temperature checked by a soldier in fatigues.  Inside, at the first station, our paperwork was checked again through a computer registry.  At another, a plastic card with a code was given out. We walked through the building in a wide circle before ending up in a big room where medical personnel inoculated people with the vaccine.  After we received the injection we were directed to a similar size room where we waited for 15 minutes to see if we had a severe allergic reaction. We asked why the soldiers were manning all of the stations and were told members of the  NJ National Guard were assigned to sites throughout the state to manage crowd control. 

It took 30 minutes from the time we entered the building to when we left it. 

The paperwork we received said the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine is administered as a two-dose series, three weeks apart, into the muscle.

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine may not protect everyone.

Our second inoculation is scheduled for February 14. We will receive an email with the time of the appointment.  According to the nurse who gave us the vaccine we will still have to wear a mask even after the second dose. Governor Murphy announced on Friday that New Jersey had administered 724,371 doses which included 113,275 given to residents and staff at 1,270 long-term-care facilities.


New Jerseyans can now make vaccine appointments over the phone through the state hotline, 855-568-0545 or visit the New Jersey Vaccine Scheduling System at




Below is information about the vaccination released by the NJ Department of the Health


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the side effects that have been reported with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine include:

• injection site pain • tiredness
• headache
• muscle pain

• chills
• joint pain
• fever
• injection site swelling
• injection site redness
• nausea
• feeling unwell
• swollen lymph nodes (lymphadenopathy)

There is a remote chance that the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine could cause a severe allergic reaction. A severe allergic reaction would usually occur within a few minutes to one hour after getting a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine. For this reason, your vaccination provider may ask you to stay at the place where you received your vaccine for monitoring after vaccination. Signs of a severe allergic reaction can include:

• Difficulty breathing
• Swelling of your face and throat • A fast heartbeat
• A bad rash all over your body
• Dizziness and weakness

These may not be all the possible side effects of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine. Serious and unexpected side effects may occur. Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine is still being studied in clinical trials

There are four types of COVID vaccines. The learn how they work  CLICK HERE


Due to supply limitations, vaccination appointments may be difficult to get so we ask for your continued patience during this process.

There are three ways to get vaccinated:

  1. Since you are registered with the NJ Vaccine Scheduling System (NJVSS), you will be notified when appointments are available in the NJVSS. We’ll send you an invitation to schedule your appointment at this email address when more appointment slots open up.
  2. You may make an appointment directly with one of the many designated vaccination sites across the state. Click here to view a list of these designated vaccination sites. Please note that due to high demand, sites on this list may be fully booked at this time.
  3. Select healthcare facilities, including many hospitals, are offering vaccines directly to their workers. If you work at one of these facilities, you may contact your employer to learn if the vaccine is available to you from your employer.

With the expansion of eligibility into more categories, there are now many more people who may get vaccinated. The vaccine supply, however, is still very limited and will be for some time.

There will be more vaccine allocated to New Jersey with each coming week and month. While we understand your desire to get vaccinated as soon as possible, we ask for your continued patience during this process. Click here to learn more about COVID-19 vaccine availability.

Individuals who are pregnant and those in an immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant are also eligible but should follow CDC guidance and first discuss vaccination with their medical provider before receiving the vaccine.

Not all sites administer a vaccine authorized for use in individuals 16 and 17 years old, so it is important to check with your vaccination site before scheduling a visit to ensure you are eligible.

For more information on vaccination distribution, who is currently eligible, and the State’s plan to equitably vaccinate those who live, work, and attend school in New Jersey, visit:

The Camden County Board of Freeholders recently released this statement:

The Camden County Board of Commissioners has opened a COVID-19 vaccination site at Camden County College. The site will be supported by volunteers from Cooper University Health Care, Jefferson Health – New Jersey, Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, and Rutgers College of Nursing and operate six days a week, from 8 AM to 4 PM. To register for a vaccination by the state mandated phase, individuals can go to As more vaccines become available, vaccination appointments will increase and open up earlier. If you receive your vaccine somewhere else sooner, please make sure to cancel your Camden County College appointment so your slot is made available for someone else who needs one

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source Center of Disease Control (CDC)


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