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NJ Department of Health finds New Brunswick's vaccination rate to be higher than originally thought

Officials said Rutgers students living off-campus likely bring the city's vaccination rate up to approximately 70 percent. – Photo by

Despite New Jersey reaching a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination rate of approximately 70 percent, several large communities throughout the state continue to show lower rates, according to an article from NJ Advance Media.

Recent reports included New Brunswick among the communities with populations of more than 10,000 that have vaccination rates of less than 50 percent, but new data suggests the off-campus Rutgers student population increases this rate.

Previously, the city was thought to have 41 percent of the population vaccinated. At a press conference on Monday, New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said after further investigation into the community, it appears the number is higher than previously thought.

“We’ve determined that their coverage is actually (more than) 70 percent when you give consideration to the number of students living off-campus in New Brunswick who must get vaccinated when they return to Rutgers,” she said.

Persichilli said this was discovered through collaboration with various city leaders, including New Brunswick Mayor Jim Cahill, and the state’s data team as part of a larger effort to continue to increase vaccinations in communities with lower rates.

She said the state has also enlisted “county ambassadors” to work with elected officials as well as local public health and community organizations in 11 counties.

“The collaborations are helping to increase rates, and it provides, also, insight into these communities … Collaboration with local community leaders is key to improving our vaccination rates,” Persichilli said.

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