County pivots vaccine strategy to accommodate demand among residents due to new variants
In response to the rising demand for COVID-19 vaccinations, as of December 15 Union County’s test sites will operate on an accelerated schedule of five days per week shared between three mass-vaccination sites located in Union Township, Roselle, and Plainfield. The new schedule will enable Union County to increase the number of vaccinations administered each week. In order to accommodate the new schedule, Union County’s mobile vaccination service will be temporarily suspended at the end of December
The recently identified Omicron variant, and an increase in confirmed positive cases, has made the demand for vaccines dramatically increase around Union County and elsewhere in New Jersey.
“Union County’s COVID-19 response strategy is designed to adjust rapidly to new circumstances as the pandemic continues,” said Union County Commissioner Board Chairman Alexander Mirabella. “Vaccination is the only sure way to prevent serious illness and death, and we are committed to providing our residents with ample opportunities to get vaccinated as soon as possible.”
To ensure that Union County can continue to maintain the clinical integrity of vaccine operations, stationary sites with a consistent schedule will help to bring mass vaccinations to residents in a more orderly way.
Effective 12/15, Union County will be operating stationary sites five days a week with the following schedule:
- Warinanco Park, Roselle – Tuesdays and Thursdays – 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. (Pfizer Vaccine for those ages 5 years old and up)
- Kean University, Union Township – Wednesdays and Fridays – 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. (Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer 12 and up only – No pediatric vaccines)
- Plainfield High School, Plainfield – Saturdays – 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (All Vaccines including Pediatric Pfizer)
“The recently identified Omicron variant of COVID-19 has made it necessary to adjust our strategy,” said Union County Commissioner Board Chairman Alexander Mirabella. “We continue to urge residents to get tested if they have been exposed and to get their vaccine or booster as soon as possible.”
“The Board of County Commissioners continues to provide residents with multiple opportunities to get vaccinated,” said Commissioner and Chair of the Public Safety Committee Sergio Granados. “Easy and consistent access to vaccination as well as testing remains our focus and is key to keeping Union County residents safe as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.”
As of this writing, no cases of the Omicron variant have been identified within Union County. The Union County COVID-19 Partnership Lab at Kean University has expanded testing protocols l to include detection of the Omicron variant. Union County COVID-19 testing operations have analysis prepared to identify cases of all currently known variants. In addition to analysis of current tests performed, COVID-19 positive test samples going back 30 days have been pulled and re-sequenced.
The Omicron variant, first identified in South Africa, has been detected in various countries in Africa, Europe, Asia and North America. One of the identifying factors is the existence of an S-gene dropout in a spike protein. An S-gene dropout is not indicative of the Omicron variant, however all positive results of the Omicron variant have been identified as containing the S-gene dropout. There are currently 19 states with confirmed cases of the Omicron COVID-19 variant.
Appointments at permanent vaccine sites can be booked online by creating an account at ucnj.org/vax. Residents looking to visit the Immunization Clinic for a free COVID-19 vaccine can walk in Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
For information and updates on all Union County services during the COVID-19 outbreak, including the Union County COVID-19 Test Center at Kean University, the Mobile Test Unit, vaccination information, emergency food distribution and other support services, visit ucnj.org/covid19. General information about COVID-19 is available through the New Jersey Department of Health at nj.gov/health.