University Hospital in Newark is preparing to vaccinate about 600 workers on Tuesday, CBS2’s Jessica Layton reported.
Logistically it’s going to be a huge challenge across the state, but doctors say it’s the best shot at getting back to normal.
In a walk through University Hospital’s new vaccination clinic, it becomes clear that it could be a giant step toward the end of the pandemic in one of New Jersey’s hardest hit cities.
“It’s the biggest public health mobilization that we’ve ever seen and will likely see in our lifetimes,” said CEO Dr. Shereef Elnahal.
In assembly line fashion, the first shipment of 3,000 doses will be administered here on Tuesday morning. There are four registration lanes and 24 socially distant seats.
“The phones were ringing off the hook today. We had much more demand than we anticipated,” Dr. Elnahal said.
He said being able to offer this powerful line of protection to frontline workers means the world.
“We’ve lost 11 employees to this pandemic. A lot of them were frontline health care workers,” Elnahal said.
“It is truly the light at the end of the tunnel. We have had no weapons, and now we have a really good weapon,” said Dr. John Bonamo of Robert Wood Johnson Barnabas Health.
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Time lapse video from Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick shows the frenzy of activity before the first shots are injected.
Anyone in a high-risk location will have priority.
“It is not just the doctors in the ICU, or the nurses in the ICU. It is the person who passes the tray. It is the person who cleans the floor. It is the unit clerk. It is the respiratory therapist,” said Dr. Bonamo.
There were cheers for the historic health care moment in Queens on Monday when critical care nurse Sandra Lindsay of Long Island Jewish Medical Center became the first person in the country to get the shot.
“It’s safe to take the vaccine. I have seen the alternative. I do not want that for you,” Lindsay said.
Lindsay, 52, was one of 10,000 people vaccinated in New York on Monday. Both she and the doctor who gave her the shot were pained by how disproportionately communities of color have been devastated by the disease.
They’re hoping to lead by example, knowing many in those same communities are still skeptical about the vaccine.
“We lost too many people and this is our saving grace at this point and time,” said Dr. Michelle Chester, director of employee health services at Northwell Health.
“I hope this marks the beginning of the end of a very painful time in our history,” said Lindsay.
University Hospital will give the first shot at 8 a.m. Tuesday. Gov. Phil Murphy will be on hand.
Patients who receive the vaccine will be watched for 15 minutes after to make sure they don’t have an allergic reaction. They’ll return for the second dose 21 days later.
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