Governor Phil Murphy watched the first of two doses of the Moderna vaccine being given to employees at a drive-thru site in front of Ocean Health Initiatives Center in Toms River. The center hopes to vaccinate 200 people after a trial run of more than 60 on Tuesday.
After getting their vaccinations, the health care workers waited in a 15-minute observation area to make sure they did not suffer any adverse reactions.
"I love it," Murphy said. "Well done everybody. So impressive."
Ocean Health Initiatives is a community based health system, operating seven centers in Monmouth and Ocean counties.
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The state on Wednesday reported 4,919 new cases and 103 new deaths, marking the second straight day of triple digit fatalities. The last time more than 100 deaths were reporter before this was June 3. The positivity rate continues to be above 10%.
So far, over 8,000 doses have been administered to health care workers at 26 hospitals.
Also Wednesday, Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo announced a comprehensive plan to open five COVID-19 Vaccination Centers throughout Essex County when the vaccines become available, and Hudson County began its own vaccine distribution after receiving its first shipment.
Kathy Gerbasio, a registered nurse who has worked on the front line of Hudson County's COVID-19 testing site at Hudson Regional Hospital since the onset of the pandemic, was the first person to receive the vaccine.
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The city of Paterson also received its first batch of Moderna vaccines Wednesday and will begin administering them to health care workers, EMS personnel, public health employees, residents of long-term-care facilities, and employees in long-term-care facilities on Monday, December 28.
Health care workers in the community can contact 973-321-1288 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. to schedule an appointment. There will be no charges or copays to the vaccine recipient, but as authorized, insurance will be billed for vaccine administration. For those without insurance, vaccination is free of charge.
"The day we have been waiting for is here," Mayor Andre Sayegh said. "Our community's health care workers, including many Paterson EMS and public health employees, have carried us through this crisis. Now they are stepping up not only to protect themselves in order to serve others, but to show that this vaccine is safe and effective. They are leading the way for the rest of us to follow in the weeks and months ahead."
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