Canvassing to Sign Up Residents for COVID-19 Vaccination in Maplewood

by Mary Barr Mann
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Town leaders, volunteers and Health Department staff in Maplewood went door to door earlier this month to try to convince those who were not yet vaccinated against COVID-19 to do so.

Township Committee member Vic DeLuca posted a photo on his Facebook page on May 8, 2021, with the caption, “We had a great day on Saturday canvassing in targeted areas of Maplewood to encourage residents to get vaccinated. Our thirty volunteers, including my Township Committee colleagues Frank McGehee, Dean Dafis, Nancy Adams, & Greg Lembrich, didn’t let the rain stop us from visiting hundreds of homes. Thanks to Candice Jacala Davenport, Anna & Taliah of the Maplewood Health Department for their efforts.”

When asked how many residents had been convinced, Township Committee member Nancy Adams wrote: “We didn’t keep track but in my experience yesterday, those who opened the door either thanked us or said they’d been vaccinated. The flyer we left gave info in 3 languages as to where people can find vaccination sites. One couple I met was just leaving to go to the pharmacy to see if they could get a vaccine, they then used the link on the flyer to find the right place.”

One commenter, Howard Fischer, asked: “Does the town have a sense of which areas are under-vaccinated? And what the vaccination rates per neighborhood are?” (Note: On May 18, Mayor Frank McGehee reported via Facebook, “We are at 43% of residents fully vaccinated.”)

Deputy Mayor Dean Dafis responded: “We don’t but we soon shall. The Governor announced Operation Jersey Summer last week, a coordinated and comprehensive statewide vaccination drive and community outreach initiative which will include sharing hyperlocal vaccination data with municipal officials so that we know how we’re doing and where we need to target our efforts. OJS will also include mobile / pop up vaccination sites and expanded vaccination partnerships with houses of worship (currently being piloted in Newark, East Orange, Orange & Irvington).”

Fischer followed up: “Kudos to the town and its officials for setting this up and pushing to improve our numbers. Will there be a repeat?”

There was no response. Village Green has reached out to the Township to inquire if there will be more canvassing and will update this story when we receive a reply.

Photo courtesy of Victor De Luca via Facebook.

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