U.S. Senator Robert Menendez is urging New Jersey to increase its COVID-19 vaccination rollout in Hudson County, where the vaccination rate remains dead last at just 16 doses administered per 100 residents. Menendez addressed his concerns in a letter to Gov. Phil Murphy dated March 22.
“With 672,000 residents, Hudson is the fourth-most populous county in the State, yet is tenth in the total number of vaccine doses administered,” Menendez said. “Other counties have a rate as high as 33 doses administered per 100 residents. I am deeply concerned that Hudson County residents do not have equitable access to COVID-19 vaccinations.”
Menendez requested a partnership with Murphy to ensure the county is not left behind in New Jersey’s vaccine rollout.
“I understand that New Jersey uses a COVID-19 vaccine allocation framework that considers a variety of factors including inventory, throughput, disease burden, and equity,” Menendez said. “However, I respectfully ask your administration to examine this disparity in doses administered per capita and to make certain that Hudson County residents receive an equitable allocation of vaccines. Additionally, I request your assistance in identifying and addressing the cause of lagging vaccination rates in Hudson County.”
Menendez noted that Hudson County faces unique challenges due to its population density and racial and ethnic diversity that should be considered as part of any rollout effort.
“We share a goal of ensuring that vaccines are distributed fairly and equitably across racial and ethnic groups; Hudson County is key to that goal,” Menendez said. “It is one of New Jersey’s most diverse counties, with 42.7 percent Hispanic or Latino, 14.8 percent Black, and 16.4 percent Asian residents. We have long known that the coronavirus disproportionately impacts minority communities.
“It is now the top cause of death for New Jersey’s communities of color and the third for white New Jerseyans. The pandemic’s disparate impact on communities of color only increases the importance of equity in vaccine allocations for counties with large populations of historically marginalized groups.”
Sen. Menendez thanked the governor for continuing to work with him to ensure residents’ needs are met and applauded his administration for getting 3.5 million shots in people’s arms statewide.
“Thank you for your consideration of this critical issue,” Menendez said. “I look forward to working with you to ensure that the needs of all New Jerseyans are met as the COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues.”
For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.