FREEHOLD — As the pace of vaccination appointments slow in Monmouth County, county-run vaccination distribution centers will be opening for walk-in appointments and anyone age 18 or older who lives, works or is educated in Monmouth County can get a jab.

Stressing that vaccinations are the choice of residents and the county will not “mandate” that residents receive the vaccine, Commissioner Director Thomas A. Arnone said on Monday that the county would be allowing walk-in appointments for vaccines.

“We are seeing a slowdown in the number of people coming out, but what we want to do is expand the horizon on that,” he said during a coronavirus briefing at the Monmouth County Agricultural building in Freehold.

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The county operates a vaccination distribution center located in Brookdale Community College, which has been using the two-dose Monderna vaccine. The site will open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon.

Also announced were efforts that the county would be reaching out to homebound residents, seniors, and, as the summer season approaches, lifeguards. As the service industry in Monmouth County expands in the summer, the county plans to send out notifications to local businesses to let them know that their employees are able to get vaccinated.

County Commissioner Susan Kiley, who also took to the podium on Monday, said that the amount of new COVID-19 cases in Monmouth County was “going down,” with a rate of transmission at 0.45, “the lowest it’s been in well over a year.”

So far, she said, the Monmouth County Health Department has administered 69, 481 vaccines, with roughly 31,000 individuals fully vaccinated.

As a whole, including at pharmacies and at state sites, roughly 513,036 vaccines have been administered to county residents, with 225,069 being fully vaccinated, according to the New Jersey Department of Health.

Commissioner Kiley said that the slowdown in vaccine appointments now may be tied to individuals who have decided not to receive the vaccine or individuals waiting a little longer to decide.

To date, the county has administered 10,341 COVID-19 tests, with 820 positive results. Free testing sites could be found on the county website, https://www.visitmonmouth.com/.

“We are on the tail end of this, we are getting out of this pandemic but we still have to follow the rules, we still have to do our part to make sure we are out sooner rather than later,” Commissioner Kiley said.

As the summer season approaches, the state has yet to offer guidance for how beaches should operate for the season. Commenting on the matter, Commissioner Director Arnone said that he has been in talks with the governor’s office, and said he believed that the guidance will be the same as last year.

“It’s just my thought, but I think the beaches will run pretty much how it did last year,” he said, adding that in many cases beaches were more crowded due to other destinations being closed off.

A focus that needs to be taken, he said, is public or private multi-family pool openings.

“Those are something that has to be decided very, very quickly,” he said. “Those are something that has to be decided very, very quickly.”

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