Healthcare workers and first responders started receiving the Moderna vaccine Saturday morning at Essex Community College, which is one of five locations in the county where the vaccine is being made available.
"Receiving the vaccine is the light at the end of the tunnel and getting vaccinated will help tremendously in stopping the spread of the deadly Coronavirus. We have been looking forward to this day and worked in partnership with our mayors, local health officials, public safety officers and emergency management personnel to make sure our sites would be ready and operational as soon as the vaccines were received," Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. said. "I encourage everyone to get the vaccine."
The first person to receive the vaccine Saturday morning was a doctor at Essex County Hospital.
"It was important for me as a healthcare provider, first and foremost, the risk I could be exposed to, and at the same time, exposing those around me, as the county executive said, we have to get a certain percentage of the population vaccinated and about 75 to 80% would be a very reasonable number such as we get what's known as herd immunity," Dr. Naipaul Rambaran said. "Herd immunity will only start if those on the front lines themselves set an example by taking the vaccine."
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Bonnie Rogers, a school nurse, and Dr. Lionel Anicette, a medical director at the Essex County Correctional Facility, also received the vaccine Saturday.
"I'm here for those people that are vulnerable...this pandemic has exposed a lot of vulnerabilities," Anicette said.
Vaccinations with the Moderna shot first got underway at University Hospital in Newark on Thursday. One of the first people to receive the vaccine was the hospital's president who says so far he feels good.
"We've already done over 1,000, we're almost reaching our allocation of the initial Pfizer stock, that we got which is about 3,000 doses, and we're going like clockwork because we want to be sure that we make good use of the stocks and that we keep getting more shipments and we vaccinate more people," said Dr. Shereef Elnahal.
Essex County has set up five vaccination centers. The locations and the municipalities served at each site are as follows:
-Essex County College, 303 University Avenue, Newark (Gym entrance on West Market Street): Newark, East Orange and Irvington.
-Essex County Donald M. Payne, Sr. School of Technology, 498-544 West Market Street, Newark: Newark, East Orange and Irvington. (This site will open in January 2021.)
-Former Kmart building, 235 Prospect Avenue, West Orange: West Orange, Cedar Grove, Essex Fells, Montclair, Newark, Nutley and Verona.
-Livingston Mall, former Sears building, 112 Eisenhower Parkway, Livingston (Entrance is in the back): Livingston, Belleville, Maplewood, Millburn, Newark, Orange and South Orange.
-Essex County West Caldwell School of Technology, 620 Passaic Avenue, West Caldwell: West Caldwell, Bloomfield, Caldwell, Fairfield, Glen Ridge, Newark, North Caldwell and Roseland.
New Jersey has seen a positivity rate as high as 13% within the last week.
By the end of next month, New Jersey will have received more than 400,000 doses of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines combined. Vaccinations start next week at more than 90 nursing homes across the state.
The state started vaccinating about a week later than New York and Connecticut due to missing a federal deadline by one day.
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