What is COronaVIrus Disease 2019 (COVID19)?

  • Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a highly contagious respiratory illness that is spread from person to person. 
  • COVID-19 is caused by a novel virus. 
  • A virus is a type of germ that is very, very small and when it gets inside your body it can make you sick. Viruses cause colds, chicken pox, measles, flu, herpes, HIV and other illnesses.  
  • Unlike bacteria, illnesses caused by viruses can’t be treated with antibiotics.
  • Some people who are infected with COVID-19 don’t have any symptoms at all, while others get very, very sick, and some people with COVID-19 die.
  • Anyone who is infected with the coronavirus can give it to other people, even if they don’t have any symptoms.    
  • The virus that causes COVID-19 is called a novel virus because it has never infected human beings before. This means that no human beings have immunity (protection) against the virus, so people who are exposed to other people who have the virus will also become infected with it.  
  • People who have had COVID-19 will develop antibodies to the virus once they have recovered. We don’t know how long these antibodies will protect you from getting re-infected yet. 
  • While COVID-19 was first identified in China, it is not a Chinese disease and Chinese people are not more likely to have it or to spread it than any other people.  
  • Coronavirus disease has infected people all over the world. People in 219 countries have been infected with COVID-19. 
  • Currently, there are more people who have been infected with coronavirus in the United States than in any other country in the world. People in every state in the US have been infected with coronavirus.
  • We are now very fortunate to have a vaccine that can protect you from getting sick with COVID-19.
  • All of the COVID-19 vaccines offered in the U.S. are very effective at preventing you from getting very sick.
  • Even if you have been vaccinated, it is still important to wear a mask indoors in New Jersey. 
  • It is very important that we try to stop the spread of this disease.  Therefore, everyone needs to continue:
    • Wash your hands for 20 seconds
    • Avoid touching your face
    • Sneeze or cough into the inside of your elbow or into a tissue. (throw it away after using!)
    • Wear a cloth mask whenever you go out in public
    • If you are unvaccinated, you should continue to wear a mask indoors and outdoors in crowded areas


  • Common Symptoms
  • Cough
  • Fever or Chills
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or Body Aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or a runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Watch for emergency warning signs for COVID-19. If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms seek emergency medical care immediately:
  • Trouble breathing
  • New confusion
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • Inability to wake or stay awake 
  • Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds depending on skin tone
  • Note: Symptoms may appear as early as two days after exposure to COVID-19 up to 14 days.


  • You should quarantine and stay at home away from others if you were in close contact (within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more over 24-hours) with someone who had COVID-19, if you participated in a high risk activity such as attending large gatherings with people who do not live with you, or if you are returning to New Jersey from beyond the immediate region.
  • The safest option is to stay home for 14 days. If you cannot stay home for 14 days due to economic or other hardship, there are two options:
    • No Test Option: Stay home for 10 days. If you stay symptom free for 10 days, quarantine ends. Monitor symptoms, wear a mask, and social distance through day 14.
    • Test Option: Stay home for 7 days. Get tested at Day 5, 6, or 7. Stay home while awaiting results. If the test is negative and you stay symptom free, quarantine ends. Monitor symptoms, wear a mask, and social distance through day 14.
  • In quarantine you should wear a mask, social distance from others, wash your hands often, and cooperate with contact tracers if you receive a call.

Before Your Appointment

Taking over-the-counter medicine, like ibuprofen, aspirin, antihistamines, or acetaminophen, is NOT recommended before vaccination because it is unknown how these medications interact with the COVID-19 vaccine.

If you get any other vaccine first, including a flu or shingles vaccine, wait at least 14 days before getting your COVID-19 vaccine. In addition, you should wait at least 14 days before getting any other vaccine after you get your COVID-19 vaccine.

If you do get a COVID-19 vaccine within 14 days of another vaccine, you do not need to be revaccinated with either vaccine. You should still complete both vaccine series on schedule.

When You Arrive For Your Appointment

Different vaccination sites may have slightly different procedures, but you will likely be checked in first.

Documentation is NOT required to be vaccinated. Vaccine sites may request documentation, but you are not required to have it to receive the vaccine. Points of dispensing must not ask for your immigration status.

You can expect to be asked demographic, occupational, and medical screening questions. Your name, address, date of birth, race, ethnicity, and gender will be securely stored in the New Jersey Immunization Information System.

These are standard data elements that have been used across vaccines administered in New Jersey. Any data collected for the COVID-19 vaccination program may only be used for public health purposes – not for civil, criminal, nor immigration enforcement.

Note: If you are uninsured, you can still receive a vaccine. The vaccine is free – there is no cost to you. Learn more about insurance coverage for COVID-19 vaccines here.

Accommodations For Individuals With Disabilities

Both COVID-19 vaccine mega sites and community-based sites have been designed to meet the needs of all residents in the state. All of these sites are ADA-compliant, and special arrangements are made for those with mobility issues.

In addition, because of the volume of individuals and size of the mega sites, many accommodations have been made to make them easier to navigate for individuals with disabilities.

All six vaccine megasites have quiet rooms to make the process less overwhelming for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities who may be more sensitive to noise, light, and crowds. For those who are deaf or hard of hearing, there is a sign language interpreter that is immediately accessible via FaceTime and one rotates between the megasites.

All of the vaccination mega sites have made accommodations for a wide-range of disabilities.

Scheduling Your Second Dose

If you are receiving the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, you will need to schedule a second appointment to receive your second dose to have maximum protection against the virus.

Your second dose appointment should be scheduled at the same location where you got your first dose.

If you made your first dose appointment through the NJ Vaccine Scheduling System, you will receive an automatically scheduled second dose appointment and an email confirmation with the details of the second dose appointment.

If you received your first dose by booking directly with a vaccine clinic and did not use the NJ Vaccine Scheduling System, vaccination sites have been instructed to schedule your second dose appointment during your first appointment.

For more information about booking your second dose, refer to this article.

Note: Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine only requires a single dose. You do not need to get a second dose of the Janssen vaccine.

When You Get Vaccinated

You will receive a vaccination card or printout that tells you what COVID-19 vaccine you received, the date you received it, and where you received it.

You will receive a paper or electronic version of a fact sheet that tells you more about the specific COVID-19 vaccine you are being offered. Each authorized COVID-19 vaccine has its own fact sheet that contains information to help you understand the risks and benefits of receiving that specific vaccine.

For more safety information about the vaccines and fact sheets, refer to this article.

After Getting Vaccinated

After receiving an injection of a COVID-19 vaccine, you will be observed for 15 minutes by healthcare staff to monitor any side effects. Observation may be longer (30 minutes) if you have a history of anaphylaxis.

Like many vaccines, a COVID-19 vaccine may cause some temporary discomfort. You may have some side effects, which are normal signs that your body is building protection.

In addition to a sore arm, side effects of the vaccines may include tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, fever, injection site swelling, injection site redness, nausea, feeling unwell, and swollen lymph nodes.

There is a small chance that vaccines could cause a severe allergic reaction. A severe allergic reaction would usually occur within a few minutes to one hour, which is why all individuals should be observed for at least 15 minutes after vaccination and 30 minutes if they have a history of a severe allergic reaction due to any cause.

If you have pain or discomfort, talk to your doctor about taking over-the-counter medicine, such as ibuprofen, aspirin, antihistamines, or acetaminophen, for any pain and discomfort you may experience after getting vaccinated. You can take these medications to relieve post-vaccination side effects if you have no other medical reasons that prevent you from taking these medications normally.

In most cases, discomfort from fever or pain is normal and should go away in a few days. Contact your doctor or healthcare provider:

  • If the redness or tenderness where you got the shot increases after 24 hours
  • If your side effects are worrying you or do not seem to be going away after a few days
  • New Jersey’s Travel Advisory is no longer in effect as of May 17th, 2021
  • Learn more about traveling to and from NJ in the link here: 


  • Get a COVID-19 Vaccine
  • Wear a cloth face mask that covers your nose and mouth 
  • Wash your hands frequently and often with warm water and soap 
  • Stay away at least 6 feet from others, especially those who do not live in your household who are not fully vaccinated 
  • What if I have been fully vaccinated? Do I need to still wear my mask? 

No, it is important to upgrade your mask at this time. Wearing a N95 or KN95 or KF94 face mask is recommended to be worn in all public places regardless of vaccination status.

  • Anyone over 18 who has had their dose of the J&J COVID-19 vaccine at least 2 months ago is eligible. 
  • Anyone over 18 who has had their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months ago is eligible.
  • Get vaccinated if you have not already
  • Get your booster dose if you are eligible
  • Wear a mask indoors even if you are vaccinated
  • Wash your hands frequently and often with warm water and soap
  • Stay away at least 6 feet from others in public places
  • While there are breakthrough cases of COVID19 particularly with the Omicron variant, it is clear that being vaccinated and boosted significantly reduces risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19.
In light of the highly contagious COVID-19 Omicron variant, it is advised that you continue to wear a face mask indoors in public spaces where you may not know the vaccination status of all persons even if you are vaccinated.

“I believe in science”

Listen to a testimonial from Ms. Maureen Weil who recently got vaccinated for COVID-19

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Essex County COVID-19 Community Toolkit

The mission of our coalition has been expanded because of the enormous challenge we all face as we seek to successfully address the COVID-19 pandemic. Our additional new mission is to do our part in helping the Greater Newark community remain healthy during this crisis.



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NJ Hope and Healing Helpline

If you or anyone you know needs to speak with someone, please call their helpline (Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.) at 609-303-4129

NJMentalHealthCares Helpline

1-866-202-HELP (4357) (TTY 1-877-294-4356) – free, confidential mental health information and referral 

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline



NJ Hotlines for General Questions about COVID-19:

Call: 2-1-1, Call (24/7): 1-800-962-1253, Text: NJCOVID to 898-211

Linhas diretas de NJ para perguntas gerais sobre COVID-19:

Chamar: 2-1-1, Chamar (24/7): 1-800-962-1253, Text: NJCOVID to 898-211 ​

Líneas directas de NJ para preguntas generales sobre COVID-19:

Llame: 2-1-1, Llame (24/7): 1-800-962-1253, Envíe un mensaje de texto: NJCOVID al 898-211

COVID-19 Testing & Vaccinations Map      

Testing sites information available in Newark. There may be closer sites available to you. Please use the zoom control on the COVID-19 Testing & Vaccinations Map to view testing and vaccination sites closest to you.

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*Appointments are required at all testing and vaccination sites
*No patient will be denied a vaccination based upon insurance status
*No one will be required to pay for a COVID-19 vaccine

* Se requieren citas en todos los sitios de prueba y vacunación 

* A ningún paciente se le negará una vacuna según el estado del seguro. 

* Nadie tendrá que pagar por una vacuna COVID-19

* As marcações são necessárias em todos os locais de teste e vacinação

* Nenhum paciente terá a vacinação negada com base no status do seguro

* Ninguém será obrigado a pagar por uma vacina COVID-19

COVID-19 Testing Sites

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COVID-19 Vaccination Sites

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Let’s all work towards #CommunityImmunity 

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