New Jersey

NJ's Most Densely Populated County Struggles With Low Vaccination Rate

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In the race to vaccinate one New Jersey county is falling behind despite being the most densely populated in the Garden State.

Hudson County had the lowest vaccination rate in the state and leaders in the region say they're left frustrated trying to get more vaccine.

Vaccination centers in the county are using every dose they get but the urban and densely populated corner of the state is getting far fewer doses on a per capita basis than nearby suburban counties -- the fewest in all of north and central New Jersey, data shows.

"If we're last it's your fault, not our fault," Hudson County Manager Tom DeGise said, frustrated that his county gets so few doses for its South Kearny drive-thru site. (While the county asserts it is getting fewer doses allotted, the state does not release county-by-county allotment data.)

The stark numbers posted by the CDC on Sunday show Morris County with 40 percent of adults fully vaccinated. Next door in Bergen County, 36 percent are done with their doses. Hudson County trails far behind with just 22 percent completing their vaccination series.

New York City and New Jersey Vaccine Providers

Click on each provider to find more information on scheduling appointments for the COVID-19 Vaccine.

Data: City of New York, State of New Jersey • Nina Lin / NBC

Katrina Malayev is typically working with seniors, but on Monday she was getting her vaccine.

"I do see a lot of [seniors] struggling to get the vaccine and they're eager to," she said.

But Hudson County trails far behind in shots for seniors because it's not getting the doses.

"I think if you look at one week, to county x versus county y, or even over a couple of weeks, you might get a distorted sense of that," Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday when questioned about the rates.

But the CDC figures for Morris, Bergen and Hudson counties are totals for the past four months, not the last week or two.

"Do I think we deserve to get more dosages? Uh huh. I feel very strongly about that and I’ll tell the governor that every time I see him," DeGise said.

At this point, Hudson residents can only look forward, not behind.

"It should really be fair for everybody but I think the point of the matter is you’re always going to get those few bumps along the way but what’s important now is its fair for all," said Kim Fletcher, of Hoboken.

Murphy said going forward Hudson County would get a disproportionately larger effort by the state than many other counties, with assistance from mobile clinics and church vaccinations.

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