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​​​​​​​​Welcome to the LSNJLAWSM website, provided by Legal Services of New Jersey (LSNJ). LSNJ is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit offering free legal advice to low-income people in New Jersey. Find legal information by clicking on a legal topic or typing a few words into the search box. ​

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Health Care
Accessing Free Community COVID-19 Resources
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Even as COVID-19 rates improve, it is important to take steps   to stay safe and healthy. This article provides up-to-date information on COVID-19 testing, vaccinations, and high quality face masks—all free of charge.

Everyone age 5 or older is eligible for a free COVID-19 vaccine in New Jersey.

Everyone over the age of 12  is eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot. The CDC and NJ Department of Health encourage everyone to get fully vaccinated as soon as possible.

Insurance is not necessary. No one will have to pay for the vaccine, and there are no out-of-pocket costs.

Documentation of citizenship status is not required to get vaccinated. Vaccine sites may request documentation, but it is not required. You cannot be denied access to the vaccine for not having ID. Vaccination sites will not ask for proof of immigration status. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will not conduct enforcement operations at or near vaccination sites.

Information should be available for New Jerseyans who do not speak English. All vaccination distribution sites have been asked to provide translation and interpretation services.

To learn more about the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines, visit https://covid19.nj.gov/pages/vaccinevideos

How can I schedule a vaccination appointment?

New Jersey’s toll-free Vaccine Call Center (1-855-568-0545) can answer questions and help you make a vaccination appointment for yourself or your family. They can also check registration status and update registration information. The hotline is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day and can help callers in more than 240 languages.

The New Jersey Vaccine Appointment Finder can help you find a vaccination site near you, with or without an appointment. This includes “mega sites” in Bergen, Burlington, Gloucester, Passaic, and Somerset counties.

The COVID-19 community calendar includes events such as pop-up vaccination sites and virtual town halls.

The New Jersey Vaccine Scheduling System is available in English and Spanish. The form takes about 15 minutes to fill out, and all information entered is kept private.

If you are 65 or older, you can call a senior-specific hotline at 856-249-7007 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. for help scheduling a vaccination appointment. Dedicated appointment slots are reserved for those aged 65 and over.

If you cannot leave home to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, you may request an in-home vaccination appointment. You may also request an appointment for another homebound person. Complete a form at covid19.nj.gov/homeboundvax (English) or covid19.nj.gov/homeboundvax-es (Spanish).

How can I get to my vaccination appointment?

  • NJ Transit’s VAXRIDE Initiative offers free rides to and from vaccination sites. For more information, visit their website at www.njtransit.com/vaxride. For help finding NJ TRANSIT service to a vaccination site, contact the customer service hotline at (973) 275-5555. Operators are available from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, and automated information is available 24 hours a day.

  • NJ 211 offers free rides to and from vaccination sites in partnership with United Way Worldwide and Lyft. Rides are available wherever Lyft operates in New Jersey. Service is available to everyone, including those with collapsible wheelchairs and walkers. To request a free ride, call 211 or text 898-211, or visit www.211.org to learn more.

I already got my vaccine. Where can I get a booster?

Research shows that COVID-19 vaccines prevent severe illness, hospitalization, and death. But, studies also show that vaccination may become less effective over time, especially for older people. Booster doses provide necessary additional protection and maintain strong immunity.

Everyone over the age of 12 can get a free booster shot at any vaccination location, using the same resources listed above. You are eligible for a booster two months after a one-dose Johnson & Johnson shot, or five months after your second Pfizer or Moderna shot. Eligible adults may choose which vaccine they receive as a booster dose; 12- to 17-year-olds are only eligible for a Pfizer booster.

Bring your CDC vaccination card or other vaccination documentation to your booster appointment. You do not need any proof of a medical condition, a note from a medical provider, or a prescription.

People with moderate or severe immune system deficiencies should get an additional Pfizer or Moderna shot sooner than others, at least 28 days after their second Pfizer or Moderna shot. It is recommended that they receive a third dose of the same product as their first two shots. Immunocompromised individuals should share this information at their appointment. Proof of immunocompromised status is not required.

Where can I find the recommended face masks?

High quality, high filtration face masks protect you from COVID-19. They are recommended in indoor or higher risk settings, regardless of vaccination status. All American adults can now pick up three free N95 masks at partner pharmacies through a new White House initiative. Smaller size masks may be available for children in the near future. Find a list of participating pharmacies at www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/retail-pharmacy-program/participating-pharmacies.html.

Free testing options through state and federally funded programs

Testing is an important tool to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your community. Free COVID-19 testing is widely available and open to everyone in New Jersey, regardless of whether you have health insurance.

  • Free public testing sites are provided by the State of New Jersey. For a list by county: https://covid19.nj.gov/faqs/nj-information/testing-and-treatment/where-can-i-get-free-public-covid-19-testing-or-treatment.

  • Free COVID-19 testing and treatment are available at community health centers or federally qualified health centers (FQHCs). Community health centers and FQHCs provide service to all people, regardless of immigration and insurance status. Find an FQHC near you with this search tool,
    https://healthapps.state.nj.us/fhs/cphc/cphcSearch.aspx, or on 211’s online list of community clinics, www.nj211.org/resource-search/taxonomy/LN-1500/_/1.

  • Individuals with urgent symptoms may continue to access services at acute care hospitals. There are no COVID-19 testing costs for uninsured individuals eligible for Charity Care. Information on the Charity Care Program can be found at: www.nj.gov/health/charitycare. It is recommended you talk to a medical provider before going to your local hospital.

  • Free at-home COVID-19 saliva testing through the State of New Jersey and Vault Medical Services. These tests are available to any person who believes they need a test, with or without symptoms, at no cost. Note: While you do not need an email account, you do need access to Zoom to access this resource.

    You can order tests as needed from Vault Medical Services at learn.vaulthealth.com/nj. The test is free; you will not be asked for credit card information. The test kit will be sent to your home via UPS next-day delivery. Once you receive the test, you will need to connect with a Vault health care professional over Zoom. He or she will help you take the test and answer any questions. Once completed, the test can be returned in a prepaid package via UPS next-day shipping. You will receive your test results 24 to 48 hours after your  sample arrives at the lab. 

  • Four free rapid at-home tests are now available to every home from the federal government. Orders will ship via the United States Postal Service, starting within 7 to 12 days of your order. The initial program allows four free at-home tests per residential address. However, residential addresses known to have multiple unrelated families can order multiple tests. More information is available at www.covidtests.gov. Apply online at https://special.usps.com/testkits. All you need is your name and residential address. No ID, credit card, or health insurance information is required. You may share an email address to get updates on your order, but this is not required.

If you have difficulty accessing the internet or need help placing an order, you can call 1-800-232-0233 (TTY 1-888-720-7489). Help is available in English, Spanish, and more than 150 other languages, 8 a.m. to midnight, seven days a week. If you are deaf or hard-of-hearing, you can contact the hotline’s TTY service at 1-888-720-7489. The Disability Information and Access Line (DIAL), https://acl.gov/DIAL, is also available to specifically help people with disabilities place their orders. To get help, call 1-888-677-1199, Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., or email [email protected].

If you have questions about eligibility, the online ordering form, shipping, or delivery, you can contact the USPS Help Desk at 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777).

Accessing at-home rapid tests from the pharmacy

Details are available at www.cms.gov/how-to-get-your-at-home-OTC-COVID-19-test-for-free.

  • Private Insurance. As of January 15, 2022, private insurance companies must provide coverage for up to eight at-home COVID-19 tests per covered individual per month. They may reimburse the full cost after purchase or set up a network of preferred retailers that provide up-front coverage. Even if your insurer has set up a network, you will still be reimbursed for out-of-network tests up to $12 per individual test. Check with your insurance provider if you have questions about coverage. Be sure to keep your receipt in case you need to submit a claim for reimbursement.

  • Medicare. Starting in early spring 2022, people with Medicare Part B can get free over-the-counter COVID-19 tests from eligible pharmacies and retailers.  Medicare Advantage plans may cover over-the-counter COVID-19 tests even earlier. Call the member services number on the back of your card to check.

    Medicare also covers lab-based PCR and antigen tests when ordered by a physician, pharmacist, or other authorized health care professional at no cost. During the public health emergency, Medicare will also cover one lab test without an order from a healthcare professional. You can call 1-800-Medicare with questions about where to find a test. For more information, go to www.cms.gov/files/document/covid-19-over-counter-otc-tests-medicare-frequently-asked-questions.pdf.

  • State Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) are also required to cover FDA-authorized at-home COVID-19 tests. You can obtain free tests at any participating pharmacy that accepts your Medicaid insurance plan. Present your card to the pharmacist to purchase the tests at no cost to you. 

Additional information and resources

More information, resources, and legal updates related to COVID-19 are available at www.lsnjlaw.org/Health-Care/Coronavirus. ​​​​​​​

3/9/2022