Lakewood in Ocean County is still struggling to immunize its residents against COVID-19. Only 38% of the township’s adults are fully vaccinated. Community leaders say that’s because many feel they’re already protected by antibodies. Health department records show that more than 13,700 people in the largely Orthodox Jewish community have been infected by COVID-19, but the mayor says many more claim they were infected and never reported it.
“There’s less motivation for them to want to get vaccinated,” one rabbi said, although epidemiologists claim there’s not much scientific evidence to support that claim of immunity. Meanwhile, vaccine resistance lingers among Lakewood’s Hispanic population, too. The state sent county COVID ambassadors to Lakewood two weeks ago to try to boost its vaccination rate.