The state Health Department has given county vaccine dispensing sites permission to give their own residents priority over people from other counties.

Some have criticized the move for complicating an already difficult situation but others are applauding it.

John Donnadio, the executive director of the New Jersey Association of Counties, said smaller counties that don’t have a megasite have limited vaccine supplies and they have to get those shots into the arms of older, vulnerable residents.

He noted the entire vaccine program has been a challenge from the beginning.

“There’s no uniform statewide system for distribution, so each county is left to their own devices to roll out the vaccine distribution,” he said. “And I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing.”

Donnadio said the association has been reaching out to see which counties are implementing some kind of vaccine priority system, finding that more are restricting access to residents.

“Restrictions typically range from living or working in the county, with some counties also testing students who attend colleges in their counties," he said.

He said some of the smaller counties don’t have a direct communication with the state about vaccine distribution, meaning they are unable to track someone who would go for a second dose in a different county.

State Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli has repeatedly stressed that people should go back to where they get their first dose of vaccine for the second one.

You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com

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