LIVINGSTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Essex County, home to Newark, New Jersey’s largest city, has been the hardest hit county by the coronavirus pandemic, with the highest number of positive cases and deaths.
Leaders there are working hard to get vaccines out quickly, setting an example for others.READ MORE: Rockets Beat Shorthanded Nets For 7th Straight Win
CBS2’s Meg Baker followed Livingston resident Bob Sender as he made his way to a vaccination booth on Thursday.
“This was incredibly efficient,” Sender said.
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The old Sears at the Livingston Mall is one of five sites in the county being used to vaccinate the masses. Locations have been open for 20 days and done more than 23,000 inoculations. The process takes less than 25 minutes.
“By the time I went online to register to the time I was here was three and a half days,” county resident Steve Weller said.
Essex centralized its vaccine registration system. Residents sign up at essexcovid.org or call the county hotline for help. County Executive Joe DiVincenzo, or “Joe D” as he’s known to many, said the planning started months ago.
“We had no choice, you know. This is public health emergency,” DiVincenzo said.
He said others have been asking him for advice. He said it starts with communication.READ MORE: New York Weather: CBS2’s 12/9 Thursday Morning Forecast
“We actually did a video for cable. Besides that, we’re doing mailings, we’re doing ads in newspapers, we’re doing ads in magazines,” DiVincenzo said.
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Maya Lordo is the county’s health officer.
“The appointment for your second dose is automatically given to you once you get your first appointment,” Lordo said.
The site in Livingston has the capability to administer 2,500 vaccinations a day. It just needs the supply.
“They’re only as good as the federal government,” DiVincenzo said.
Many of the people Baker spoke to said inoculation is a ticket to see their grandkids. It’s a light at the end of a dark tunnel.
The site is a no-waste facility. Any doses left over from missed appointments go to volunteers on site, the nearby psychiatric hospital, and to the uniformed staff at the county corrections facility.
CBS2’s Meg Baker contributed to this reportMORE NEWS: David Banks To Be Named New York City Schools Chancellor
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