Capital Connection

Everything you need to know happening in and around the Capital City

What you need to know about Monkeypox vaccines and New Jersey

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with monkeypox virus that can affect anyone. The virus can cause flu-like symptoms, swollen lymph nodes, and a rash that often begins on the face and spreads to other parts of the body. Monkeypox does not spread easily to people without close contact. At this time, cases of monkeypox are relatively rare in the United States. People who think they may have been exposed to monkeypox or who have symptoms of monkeypox should consult with a healthcare provider. Previously, the vaccine was available to residents with known exposure to a monkeypox case. Going forward, the JYNNEOS vaccine will also be available to New Jerseyans who are at high risk of having been exposed to the virus in the past 14 days.

For residents with known exposure to monkeypox, the two-dose regimen for Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) continues to be available through their local health department. Anyone with a known exposure within the past 14 days should contact their health care provider or local health department regarding testing and vaccine eligibility. Local health departments will continue to conduct contact tracing and offer the vaccine to anyone identified as a close contact.

For residents without a confirmed exposure who believe they may have been exposed or are at high risk for having been exposed to monkeypox in the past 14 days, the vaccine is now available through community partners via appointments only.

New Jersey is expecting additional doses from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and as the State gets additional supply the Department will continue to expand access to the vaccine.

For these residents, information on vaccine appointments through the expanded PEP program is available through these community partners:

Bergen New Bridge Medical Center, Annex 2 (white tent structure), 230 East Ridgewood Ave, Paramus:

Cooper Vaccine & Testing Clinic, Cooper University Hospital, 300 Broadway, Camden. (At the intersection of Broadway and MLK Boulevard. Entrance off of MLK Boulevard. Follow the signs; do not drive into the parking garage.) Appointment only: call 856-968-7100, Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., or go online at any time through MyCooper:

  • Hyacinth AIDS Foundaton/Project Living Out Loud!, Jersey City: 201-706-3480
  • The Prevention Resource Network, a program of the Visiting Nurse Association of Central Jersey, Asbury Park: 732-502-5100
  • North Jersey Community Research Initiative (NJCRI), Newark: 973-483-3444 ext. 200

West Ward Councilwoman, Robyn Vaughn, enters the race to become mayor

West Ward Councilwoman, Robyn Vaughn, recently announced her bid to become mayor of Trenton. The "Unbossed and Unbought" mayoral hopeful promises to work for the residents of the Capital City. "I will enforce the charter and ordinances of the City of Trenton and all general laws applicable thereto, and govern by the principle of Home Rule. That means I will ensure that the City of Trenton exercises its constitutional right and powers to self-government with little interference or micromanagement by The State of New Jersey in Trenton's municipal affairs via a MOU or any other targeted legislation or special laws passed by the NJ State Legislature," Vaughn declared in a release.

Juried art show for seniors

The 2022 Essex County Senior Citizens Juried Art Show will be held at the Essex County Robert J. O'Toole Community Center in Cedar Grove and open to the public from August 8 – September 5, 2022. Artwork must be dropped off at the Essex County Robert J. O'Toole Community Center at Cedar Grove Park (199 Fairview Avenue, Cedar Grove) between 9am and 1pm on Wednesday, August 3, 2022. An awards ceremony will be held on Thursday, September 8, 2022, at 10am. Entries winning first place in Essex County will automatically advance to the State Competition. For more information, please contact Jacquelyn Matthews at (973) 735-6228 or e-mail

Need a passport?

If you're looking to obtain a passport the Mercer County Clerk's Office has two convenient locations for passport processing that doesn't require an appointment. The Clerk's Office offers full time hours in the main office at the County Court House Annex in Trenton, at 209 South Broad Street, Room 100. The Clerk's Office also offers full time hours in Hamilton on Tuesday and Thursday evenings until 7 P.M. The benefit of getting your passport at the clerk's office is that they take your photo on site, removing the need to get your photo taken at a separate location. The Mercer County office advises constituents to plan ahead for travel. The U.S. State Department is experience longer than usual delays in the processing times of passports. The current wait time for passport services is five to seven weeks for expedited service and eight to 11 weeks from time of submission for a regular application. The fee for a passport book is $130 adults, and $100 for minors.

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