New Jerseyans eager to receive the COVID-19 vaccine have been lining up every day before dawn at the Rockaway Townsquare Mall COVID-19 vaccine mega site, hoping cancellations will allow them to get their first dose of the shot.
People begin arriving well before the site opens at the former Sears location to put their name on a standby list in case a spot opens up by a cancellation or a no-show.
One hopeful, identified as Bill, told CBS New York that he braved freezing rain and ice cold temperatures to get in line Tuesday morning before 6 a.m., after having no luck with the online registration.
"We're 75 and older and there still have been no calls, no nothing," he said. "So this is the only opportunity, only hope we have at the moment."
Residents say they understand it may be a long shot to get the vaccine without an appointment, but they believe it'll be worth the wait.
"It's near impossible to get an appointment online," a Morristown resident added. "I thought I would stand by today, especially on a day like today where there might be more cancellations with the weather."
With the demand for the vaccine far exceeding supply, the state as encouraged sites to not allow doses to go unused. Still, people are advised not to get on standby lines, especially if they don't have an appointment.
Morris County and the Atlantic Health System said in a statement that people have rarely gotten the vaccine from the standby line.
About 4 million New Jerseyans are eligible for the vaccine but the state receives only 130,000 doses per week.
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