Hudson County opened its first COVID-19 vaccination site at the USS Juneau Center, Office of Emergency Management in Kearny this week, Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise announced.
On December 23rd, the Hudson County Vaccine Task Force, overseen by County Executive Tom DeGise and the Hudson Regional Health Commission, officially began administering the COVID-19 vaccine to health care workers in Phase 1A of the state’s vaccination program. Kathy Gerbasio, a Secaucus High School Nurse who has tested thousands of individuals since March at Hudson County’s COVID-19 testing site at Hudson Regional Hospital, was the first person to receive the Moderna vaccine at the site. She was accompanied by her husband at Hudson County’s Vaccine Distribution Center, located at the USS Juneau Center Office of Emergency Management.
The vaccination center is operated by the Hudson Regional Health Commission and overseen by the newly established Hudson County Vaccine Task Force, which the County Executive will utilize to coordinate vaccine response across several different county departments and autonomous agencies as well as the community at large. At the same time, the county will continue offering robust COVID-19 testing through its partnership with Hudson Regional Hospital in Secaucus.
On December 10th, Governor Murphy tweeted, We’re one step closer to receiving our first shipment of vaccines in New Jersey – a moment we’ve been planning for since March. WE ARE READY.”
The following is from a press release sent to Hoboken Girl regarding Hudson County’s tentative COVID-19 vaccine plan.
“Our nation has eagerly awaited the approval of a vaccine to combat the COVID-19 crisis and Hudson County has worked diligently for the past nine months to prepare for this moment,” said DeGise. “While we cannot let our guard down just yet, knowing our community will receive its first shipment of vaccines in the coming days assures all of us that we are one step closer to reaching the light at the end of this dark tunnel. As we enter into the cold, winter months, Hudson County will continue its robust testing efforts and will have an aggressive vaccination program in place for when the vaccine becomes more publicly available .”
Keeping in accordance with New Jersey guidelines that outline the vaccine distribution schedule, essential healthcare workers will be the first to be vaccinated at Hudson County’s site. Those eligible include doctors and nurses within private practices, dentists, hygienists, community and public health workers, funeral directors, paid and unpaid Emergency Medical Technicians, and those working in labs with infectious material. Medical personnel who work at local hospitals will be vaccinated by their employers.
“The Hudson Regional Health Commission is working closely with County Executive DeGise to ensure that the first wave of vaccinations is administered efficiently and effectively,” said Carrie Nawrocki, Executive Director of HRHC. “In the coming days, our team of health experts will be working around the clock to begin operations at Hudson County’s first vaccination center and start distribution immediately after receiving our first shipment.”
Members of the Hudson County Vaccine Task Force that are actively participating include the Hudson County Improvement Authority and County Department of Roads and Public Property which are preparing the site for use, the Hudson County Schools of Technology which is providing technical and IT assistance, Hudson County Sheriff Frank Schillari and the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office who is assisting with crowd and traffic control and others. The vaccine distribution process will be monitored closely with all 12 mayors and local health officers — and regular reports will be available to all elected officials and relevant County stakeholders regarding updates. The Vaccine Task Force anticipates holding its first briefing with Hudson County mayors later this week.
The USS Juneau Center, Office of Emergency Management is located at 110 Hackensack Avenue in Kearny. Vaccines will be administered by appointment only and additional information about how eligible individuals can register to be vaccinated at the County site will be made available in the coming days.