Governor Phil Murphy visited the community-based COVID-19 vaccination facility at Donald M. Payne, Sr. School of Technology in Newark, where several airport and school support workers were vaccinated as part of the New Jersey vaccination upgrade.
Murphy was led by Dr. Naipaul Rambaran, Essex County Immunization Coordinator; Joseph DiVincenzo, Jr., Executive Director of 32BJ Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Essex County; and Judy Persichilli, Commissioner, Department of Health.
Also in attendance were State Senator M. Teresa Ruiz, Newark, Member of the State Assembly, Eliana Pintor Marin, Newark, Brendan Gill, Essex County Commissioner, and Anibal Ramos, Jr., Member of Northark North Ward Council.
Murphy and the group went through the vaccination center where local residents received the Moderna vaccine.
Murphy then congratulated Leslie Williams, who works in the Orange School District Food Service and was the first person in line to get the first shot of the two-dose Moderna vaccine at school.
“Congratulations! How are you feeling?” said Murphy. “I feel ok. I’m relieved now,” Williams said. “I have to be with my grandchildren, and I have another one on the way. I want to be there for them.”
The governor next saw Andre Cooper, a cabin cleaner and security specialist at Newark Liberty International Airport, receive the vaccine.
“I feel safer now when I go out of the house to the supermarket. This is a very scary disease that we’ve all been concerned with, ”said Cooper, an East Orange resident who has two children. “I’m grateful that I got the shot. Better be on the safe side and have peace of mind. “
After receiving the vaccine, patients are taken to the waiting area where the nursing staff will monitor them for 15 minutes.
Murphy’s visit to the vaccination site came a day after the state expanded the groups of people eligible for the vaccine, including public and local transport workers like bus, taxi, rides and airport workers, NJ Transit workers, the homeless and people living in homeless shelters or domestic violence shelters.
Teachers in New Jersey were originally supposed to be on vacation on March 15, but became eligible earlier this month after President Joe Biden stated that teachers, school staff and childcare workers could be vaccinated immediately.
Murphy noted that New Jersey plans to mirror the Biden government mandates in the future.
“President Biden knew that by May 1, anyone in America who wants to sign up for a vaccination appointment will be able to do so, and I expect we can do that in New Jersey,” said Murphy said. “We need more supplies from the federal government, that’s the biggest challenge we’ve had. We expanded our sales network ahead of the offering and based on what we hear from the government, it will soon expand. And when it does, we’ve put the system in place to make sure anyone who wants the vaccine can get it. “
Murphy acknowledged that many people in color communities have raised concerns about getting the vaccine. Some black Americans still have suspicions about the medical system, according to Tuskegee’s infamous 20th century medical study that involved black men.
But Murphy, the governor of a state with more than 23,000 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths, 840,000 confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases, and more than 3 million first and second vaccine doses, expressed his commitment to address any racial justice gap Regarding vaccine access and addressing other color community concerns.
“Johnson & Johnson’s regular one-dose vaccine is a particular benefit when it comes to getting into hard-to-reach places, including for disadvantaged communities,” Murphy said. “Role models are important, and we paid a lot of attention to getting color community leaders to step up and get the vaccine. It is our job to overcome any skepticism. “
Shortly after Leslie Williams was vaccinated, licensed practical nurse Ekinadose Lebarty pointed out the need for normalcy to be a driving force in all communities as New Jersey continues to fight the pandemic.
“People just want human contact again,” Lebarty said as she prepared to give more vaccines. “This is the first step in embracing their families again.”
Mark J. Bonamo