NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — As of Monday, everyone 16 and up in the United States is eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

The rule has already been in effect for New York and Connecticut, but now it’s also in New Jersey.

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As CBS2’s John Dias reported, seniors lined up outside the COVID-19 vaccination site at Essex Community College to get their second shot.

“I have faith in the vaccine,” one told Dias.

Now, younger generations can join in.

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All adults qualify, 16 and up, no matter their health condition or occupation.

“If expanding it to that age, and they say they want to do it, then great for them,” said Newark resident John Teabout.

“We can’t exclude young people because of their age,” said Ed Kelly.

Kelly just hopes the new age group follows through with booking appointments.

“You have a lot of people running around here, not vaccinated, they can spread the virus,” Kelly said.


Rinshi Brahmbhatt, 24, of Jersey City went to get vaccinated with her dad. It came with a little peace of mind.

“No, I’m not scared. I’m relieved, yeah,” Brahmbhatt told CBS2’s Nick Caloway.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency-run site at New Jersey Institute of Technology was fairly quiet Monday, with little or no line all day. And better yet, for most, the vaccine brought only minor side effects.

“So my arm, it felt kind of sore,” Newark resident Mehnaz Mursalat said.

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Others do have moderate or even severe reactions, although they rarely last more than a day or two.

Dr. Daniel Varga with Hackensack Meridian Health recommends against taking any medication until you actually have symptoms.

“By in large, everybody has responded to basic symptomatic treatment, like using some Tylenol. And, you know, if you’re feeling cruddy, stay home, sleep, hydrate, get through it and then come on in,” Varga said.

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Gov. Phil Murphy said New Jersey is still on track to reach its goal of fully vaccinating 70% of the adult population by June 30, but herd immunity can only be reached if this new group complies.

“I don’t think young people should be getting the vaccine,” said 18-year-old Zaniyyah Obery.

“I’m kind of a little bit unsure about it because what happened with Johnson & Johnson,” said Newark resident Imani Smith.

The new eligibility meets President Joe Biden‘s national deadline for all states and territories to open vaccine appointments to all adults by April 19. Earlier this month, he moved it up from May 1, while issuing a stark message to not let our guards down.

“We are still in a life and death race against [the] virus,” Biden said.


In Newark, the mayor is stressing the importance of still social distancing and wearing a face mask.

“People are still dying, and who are you to determine who gets to live and who gets to die? And it’s OK if three people die, instead of 30 people, since only 3 die doesn’t mean you have to wear a mask? That’s not the way I think,” said Mayor Ras Baraka.

There are now almost seven million people in New Jersey who are eligible for a vaccine.

More than one-third of adults have already been fully vaccinated in the Garden State.

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CBS2’s Nick Caloway contributed to this report

John Dias