Essex County, Saint Barnabas Medical Center Partner to Distribute Vaccine

by The Village Green
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From Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr.:

On Monday, December 28th, Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. announced a partnership with Saint Barnabas Medical Center to be the Healthcare Partner at the Essex County Vaccination Site in the former Sears building at the Livingston Mall. Saint Barnabas Medical Center (SBMC), an RWJBarnabas Health facility, will be the exclusive healthcare provider responsible for coordinating vaccinators at the Livingston Mall location. This clinic is open to residents of Belleville, Livingston, Millburn, Maplewood, Newark, Orange and South Orange. It is located in the former Sears building, 112 Eisenhower Parkway, Livingston.

As part of the announcement, Maria Magno, Assistant Director of Nursing at the Essex County Hospital Center, was administered the COVID-19 vaccine before the site opened for the day.

“Getting five vaccination sites ready was just the first step in the process. We knew getting volunteers to staff the centers was just as crucial. When we approached RWJBarnabas Health and CEO Barry Ostrowsky, he did not hesitate in providing nurses to work at the vaccination center at the Sears building. This is just another example of the long-standing partnership we have with RWJBarnabas Health and the commitment to the community they have,” DiVincenzo said. “The COVID-19 vaccination will help stop the spread of the virus, but it will only be effective if at least 70 percent of the population receives the shot. Members of the public should feel confident that getting vaccinated in one of our centers will be safe,” he said.

“RWJBarnabas Health has been working diligently with the state to support the New Jersey Department of Health’s ambitious vaccination plan to get 70 percent of the state’s adult population vaccinated in six months,” said Barry H. Ostrowsky, President and Chief Executive Officer of RWJBarnabas Health. “As the most comprehensive academic health care system in New Jersey, we are committed to treating and saving the lives of patients with COVID-19 and to fighting the spread of the disease, protecting our team and community members and ending the pandemic. I am incredibly proud and grateful for the work, commitment to high-quality care and compassion that each of our frontline employees has demonstrated as we battle the COVID-19 pandemic. The vaccine is truly the light at the end of the tunnel, and it is thrilling to be supporting the Essex County Executive in administering the COVID-19 vaccine,” he added.

“Since early March, our amazing healthcare heroes at Saint Barnabas Medical Center have cared for more than 1,500 hospitalized patients. Until now, we have been on the defense with this virus, utilizing every tool that we have to treat it,” said Stephen P. Zieniewicz, FACHE, President and Chief Executive Officer at SBMC. “We are excited to partner with our Essex County Executive and embrace this historic vaccination effort for the residents of our community,” he added.

“St. Barnabas Medical Center is one of the finest healthcare institutions in the tristate area. Their expertise in providing healthcare will be crucial in ensuring our vaccination process runs as efficiently as possible. They are an ideal administrative partner for our Livingston Mall vaccination site, and we are fortunate to work with them to provide the COVID-19 vaccine to our residents,” Freeholder President Brendan Gill 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.

This vaccination site will be open Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 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.

Residents entering the vaccination site will 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.

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