Camden County has administered more than 186,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine so far, with appointments at both county-run sites currently booked through the fall.
The sites at Camden County College in Blackwood and the Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Community Center in Camden are booked through October, according to county spokesperson Dan Keashen.
He adds that the Blackwood site has had a no-show rate of only about 2% over the last two weeks. The Kroc Center has been in operation for about a month and has vaccinated 2,300 residents so far.
Keashen said appointments are confirmed the day of and adds that anyone age 65 and older is being prioritized for sooner appointments that become available as a result of others not being able to make appointments.
While FEMA’s vaccination site at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia opened for an eight-week run to much fanfare, the federal agency more quietly opened another site at the BB&T Pavilion in Camden for two weeks and is set to close on Friday. Appointments are still available, according to officials.
A line formed outside the entertainment venue on Monday before its 1 p.m. opening. Some in line said they needed to get vaccinated for their jobs or because they live with older relatives. But many said they did not hesitate to sign up for appointments.
“[I] just want to get back to normal,” said Luke Schermann, of Pennsauken.
“It’s better to be safe than sorry,” said Schermann, who does not want to end up with the more severe effects of COVID-19. “Even if I get a little sick from the vaccine, it’s better than dying.”
Antonio Harriott made no bones about it: “I’m going to go get it. I have to get it,” he said, noting that he faces the public as an NJ Transit employee.
The Camden vaccination site opened March 8 for its originally planned two-week run. They will return in a month to administer the second dose of the vaccine. The site aims to administer about 2,000 doses in total.
A spokesperson from New Jersey State Police said the site is being managed by the state with assistance from FEMA. In comparison, the FEMA-backed vaccination site at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia will be operating for eight weeks.
The spokesperson wrote that they are working with community leaders to ensure that all of the doses are used.
Across Camden County, 40,956 confirmed cases have been reported and 1,111 deaths, as of Tuesday.