Almost 5 million COVID vaccinations have been given in New Jersey since mid December when the rollout began, and more than 1.8 million Garden State adults are now fully vaccinated.

But vaccination rates in Black and Hispanic communities across the state continue to be lower than in white communities.

During the latest coronavirus update in Trenton on Wednesday, Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said the race/ethnicity breakdown of individuals in New Jersey who have received at least one dose of vaccine is 56.5%, white, 9.5% Hispanic, 5.8% Black and 8.8% Asian.

Gov. Phil Murphy said a multi-pronged strategy is being deployed to make sure every resident has the opportunity to get vaccinated.

“It’s mobile vans, it’s houses of worship, it’s getting role models to visibly get vaccinated, it’s putting locations into communities like West New York," he said.

Persichilli said efforts continue to ensure equitable access to vaccines, particularly for underserved populations.

“We are working with churches and local leaders to get individuals to community-based vaccination sites in 10 cities that have the highest social vulnerability index,” she said.

The commissioner pointed out more than 54,000 doses have been administered at these sites. The FEMA community vaccination center in Newark has the capacity to vaccinate 6,000 people a day. More than 44,300 vaccines were administered at this center since it opened last week.

 

State Police Superintendent Pat Callahan said flyers about vaccination sites in Newark are being distributed in seven languages and the state call center is reaching out to residents to help them make appointments.

“You’ve got to literally reach out to people, reach into communities," Murphy said. "It’s a journey. We’re not where we want to be yet.”

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

What's been killing all the fish in NJ waterways?

Since November, there have been numerous instances of dead menhaden washing ashore or floating in waterways, including in the Raritan Bay and the Navesink and Shrewsbury rivers.

SEE: Painstaking labor to save the North River tunnel

Seven stories below street level in Weehawken, on the edge of the Hudson River, a race against time is being waged, foot by painstaking foot.