September 24, 2021 Joe Amditis

More than 3 million New Jerseyans, including 335,000 Asians, remain unvaccinated, report says

By April Xu, Sing Tao Daily

This story was produced as part of a six-month COVID-19 reporting fellowship with NJ ethnic and community media organized by the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University. It has been updated and edited from its original version.

 

TRENTON, NJ — While 5,898,479 (63.5 percent) of the total population in New Jersey have been fully vaccinated as of September 7, more than 3 million people—including an estimated 335,200 Asians—in the state are still unvaccinated, according to the New Jersey Department of Health Covid-19 tracking report.

About 71.8 percent of New Jerseyans have received at least one dose. Of this population, 647,392 of these people are of Asian descent.

Overall, as compared to Black and Latinos in New Jersey, the share of vaccinations (10.25 percent) among Asian people has been similar to or higher than their shares of cases, deaths, and total population.

With the continued spread of the more transmissible Delta variant in the Garden State and across the country, cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are rising, largely among unvaccinated people.

But New Jersey Gov. Murphy admitted that of those New Jerseyans who have been fully vaccinated, at least 22,246 have tested positive for Covid or breakthrough cases, resulting in 457 Covid-related hospitalizations and 111 Covid-related deaths, as of September 7.

Fully vaccinated, according to medical experts and public health officials, means that the person has completed a Covid-19 vaccine series, which will give the best protection against severe complications.

However, no vaccine offers 100 percent protection against illness, health officials added. But it is highly proven that the vaccine provides a better chance to fight off the infectious consequence of being vulnerable to the coronavirus.

Esther Jin, of Summit, NJ, is among the young Asian Americans who got vaccinated early this year. She had her first shot of Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine in late March and was completely vaccinated by mid April.

Jin commutes to work in New York City everyday. The main reason for her to get vaccinated early, she said, is to protect herself and her loved ones.

“I’m 30 years old, and I probably won’t have any severe symptoms if I got the Covid. But everyday I have to be on the train for more than an hour to get to New York City, which puts me and my family at greater risk of getting infected by the virus.” Jin said. “I got vaccinated not only for myself but also for the other people. It’s everybody’s responsibility to stop the spread of the virus.”

“The increase in Delta variant has been particularly prevalent among the unvaccinated New Jersey residents, especially young people between 12 to17,” said Dr. David Adinaro, deputy commissioner of Public Health Services at the New Jersey Department of Health, during a virtual press event hosted by the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University.

In the last four weeks, the Delta variant accounts for 99.3 percent of the new Covid cases in New Jersey—a 24.3 percent increase since the end of July.

“We’re almost at 500 total hospitalized patients in the last two weeks [of July] with an accompanying increase in those that are in the intensive care unit,” said Adinaro. On September 8, the state reported about 885 hospitalized patients and 3,498 were tested positive for Covid-19.

“It (Delta variant) is believed to be a much more transmissible disease. Some of the estimates were anywhere from two and a half to several 100 times more transmissible than the original Covid-19 virus, and it probably is the most transmissible of the variants that we’ve seen so far,” added Adinaro.

For Jin, she wants to encourage every eligible adult person to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

“Considering the Delta variant is more transmissible, it’s unbelievable that I have seen many people in my neighborhood who don’t wear masks when they are indoors,” she said. “Prevention is always better than treatment.”

Still, reiterating the findings of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Adinaro noted that the best way to protect people from the Delta variant [or the previous variants] is to get fully vaccinated.

“Our goal is really to get everybody [fully vaccinated]. We’ve been particularly interested in municipalities and counties where the rates are less than 70 percent, but 70 percent is the floor—not the ceiling,” said Adinaro.

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Photo caption: Dr. David Adinaro, deputy commissioner of Public Health Services at the New Jersey Department of Health, speaks with ethnic media reporters in the New Jersey/New York area about the coronavirus situation in New Jersey. 

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Joe Amditis

Joe Amditis is the associate director of the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University. He graduated from Rutgers University in 2013 and earned his B.A. with a double-major in political science and criminal justice before going on to earn his M.A. from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism in New York City. He is the co-founder and former director of operations of Muckgers, an hyperlocal, student-focused, investigative publication serving the Rutgers-New Brunswick community. Joe is also a seven-year veteran of the New Jersey Army National Guard and deployed to Iraq from 2008-2009.