In a letter to Gov. Phil Murphy (D), U.S. Senator Bob Menendez called on the state to expand COVID-19 vaccinations in Hudson County – which currently has the lowest vaccination rate per population in New Jersey.
“I respectfully request your partnership to ensure the county is not left behind in New Jersey’s vaccine rollout,” Menendez began in yesterday’s letter.
“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. 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.”
The senator also noted that, while Hudson County is the fourth most populous county in the state, they rank 10th in the number of overall vaccines administered.
Additionally, he is seeking further clarity on why these vaccination rates are lagging, in particular since they face unique challenges related to population density, as well as racial and ethnic diversity, which 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. 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,” Menendez wrote.
“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.”
Furthermore, Menendez thanked the governor for continuing to work with him to ensure the needs of New Jerseyans are met, applauding his administration for getting 3.5 million shots in people’s arms across the state as of this writing.