Paterson revamps COVID-19 vaccine approach, recommends appointments

Coronavirus Update New Jersey
PATERSON, New Jersey (WABC) -- One of New Jersey's largest cities is revamping its approach to COVID-19 vaccine distribution after its first-come, first served site led to long lines of people bundled up in the cold for hours.

Paterson Mayor Sayegh announced Friday that beginning on February 3, vaccination sites across the city will begin scheduling appointments between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. via the state registration portal.

Then, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., the site will be open for walk-ins for Paterson seniors only. Officials expect there will be roughly 75 walk-in doses available per day.

The appointment period is also open to Passaic County residents as well.

Hundreds of people lined up early Thursday morning in hopes of getting a COVID-19 vaccine at International High School, with shots available to any eligible state resident.

Critics say that led to seniors standing in the cold for hours, and Sayegh is hoping the changes will alleviate those long lines.

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Elsewhere in New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy said a "technical issue" with the New Jersey Vaccine Scheduling System platform led to an unknown number of double booked appointments at the Gloucester County Thursday.

Some appointments had to be canceled, and the state is promising to reschedule those appointments as quickly as possible.

"We will work with those canceled on rescheduling at the nearest available time," Murphy said. "We regret the confusion this technical issue caused. We are working with our vendor. And as you imagine, those exchanges are spirited, to address the root cause and that this does not happen again."

Murphy said there have been 724,371 total vaccinations statewide, which has now surpassed the total number of positive cases in the state.

"We are working every day to maximize every dose we are given and to administer to as many people as our supply will allow," he said. "As the federal government increases our allotment, we'll be able to open up for more appointments. And as we will now know what our allotment will look like three weeks down the road, we'll be able to make more long-term decisions to improve our vaccine program."

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