Essex County began administering its first Moderna COVID-19 vaccinations at Essex County College in Newark on Saturday, December 26, according to a release from the office of County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr. The County has received and will be administering the Moderna vaccine — as opposed to the Pfizer vaccine — at five vaccination sites. The second dose of the Moderna vaccine is given after a 28-day interval.
Although DiVincenzo stressed that ultimately everyone should get vaccinated, the New Jersey State Department of Health is prioritizing “paid and unpaid healthcare workers who may have contact with infected patients or infectious materials and people who are at a higher risk of severe COVID-19 illness, including those over the age of 65 and those with underlying health issues.” Other at-risk populations will follow such as healthcare workers, first responders, food and agriculture workers, transportation, education and child care, energy, water and sanitation, law enforcement and government (see the full list below). The general population will be vaccinated last.
Find more information at essexcovid.org.
From the Office of Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr.: Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. announced that Essex County has received its first shipment of the Moderna vaccine for COVID-19 and that the first vaccinations were given on Saturday, December 26. Receiving the first vaccinations were Dr. Lionel Anicette, medical director at the Essex County Correctional Facility; Dr. Naipaul Rambaran, medical director, Occupational Health & Medicine at the Essex County Hospital Center, and Bonnie Rogers, a nurse from the Essex County West Caldwell School of Technology. Essex County is following guidelines from the NJ Department of Health that sets priorities of who is eligible to receive the vaccine in the first phase. To make an appointment, please visit EssexCOVID.org or call 973-877-8456.
“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,” DiVincenzo said. “I encourage everyone to get the vaccine,” he added.
“Today is a great day for all of Essex County. By administering our first of many COVID-19 vaccinations, we have officially given our residents a new option – their best option – to protect themselves from contracting COVID-19 and putting their lives at risk. I thank our County Executive Joe DiVincenzo, our health officers, our Office of Emergency Management, and so many others throughout our county leadership for their hard work in implementing this process and protecting our citizens,” County Freeholder (soon to be Commissioner) President Brendan Gill said.
“Essex County has had more COVID-19 cases and more COVID-19 related deaths than any other county in the state. Thousands of our neighbors have lost loved ones, and many more have been hoping for a vaccination to protect them from this horrible virus. With today’s administered vaccinations, Essex County has turned the hopes of our residents into reality. I thank our County Executive Joe DiVincenzo, our health officers, and the countless medical professionals around the world who have worked tirelessly to make this day possible,” County Freeholder (soon to be Commissioner) Vice President Wayne Richardson said.
Limited doses of the vaccine are available, and the State Department of Health has compiled a phased in approach to ensure the vaccine is distributed in a fair and equitable manner until larger quantities of the vaccine become available. Those who are eligible to receive the vaccine first are paid and unpaid healthcare workers who may have contact with infected patients or infectious materials and people who are at a higher risk of severe COVID-19 illness, including those over the age of 65 and those with underlying health issues. Next to receive the vaccine will be critical populations which include, but are not limited to, healthcare workers (hospital, long-term care, home care, urgent care and clinics, dialysis centers, dental offices, funeral homes, pharmacies public health, group homes, EMS); first responders, food and agriculture workers, transportation, education and child care, energy, water and sanitation, law enforcement and government; adults at higher risk (long term care residents, people ages 65 and older, those with underlying medical conditions, immunocompromised, incarcerated, homeless shelters, group homes and other congregate settings such as psychiatric facilities); and others at high risk (communities that have disproportionately acquired or died from COVID-19, colleges and universities, people with disabilities and people who are under- or uninsured). The general population will be vaccinated last.
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.
Residents of Newark will be able to make an appointment at any of the five sites because of the size of the city’s population.
Essex County College, the Kmart building and the Sears building will be open Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The West Caldwell School of Technology will be open Monday to Saturday from 12 Noon to 7 p.m.
Residents can make appointments at www.EssexCOVID.org or by calling 973-877-8456. Vaccinations will be given in two doses. Residents making reservations to receive the vaccination will receive two appointments. It is critical that residents attend both appointments.
Residents will be asked to provide their medical insurance information and their insurance provider will be billed $16.94 for the first dose and $28.39 for the second dose. If a resident does not have insurance, the cost of the vaccine will be covered by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provide Relief Fund. There will be no out-of-pocket expenses charged to residents.
Each vaccination site is set up in a similar fashion. Residents entering the site will first be pre-screened to verify they have an appointment. Those who do not have an appointment will not be allowed to receive the vaccine that day. Residents will then proceed to a registration table where they will be provided with their paperwork for their visit and receive a card to remind them about their second appointment. After being inoculated with the vaccine, residents will be required to wait 15 minutes while they are monitored for any side effects.
Social distancing guidelines will be followed at every site and areas will be sanitized on a regular basis throughout the day.