HOBOKEN, NJ — Members of the Hoboken police and fire departments received their first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at Riverside Medical Group in Hoboken on Sunday, the city of Hoboken said.
Approximately 120 first responders and law enforcement personnel were vaccinated through Riverside, which runs a vaccination center on Hudson Street. Additional vaccinations were provided by Hoboken University Medical Center since Thursday, the city said.
Hoboken Police Chief Ken Ferrante received the vaccine with Riverside Sunday morning, while Fire Chief Brian Crimmins received the vaccine through Hoboken University Medical Center on Friday.
In New Jersey right now, the vaccine is only being administered to people in Phase 1A: health care workers, their staffs, and long-term care residents and staffs. However, on Thursday, police and firefighters in New Jersey became eligible as well.
As part of the next phase, 1B, the vaccine will be offered to other types of essential workers and to New Jersey residents over 75. The state is the authority that determines when vaccination centers will move to the next phase.
“I encourage all residents to follow the lead of our courageous first responders and get the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available,” said Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla. “The vaccine has been proven to be safe and effective, and will help our community get back to normal once distributed widely. I thank the medical staff at Riverside and Hoboken University Medical Center for working quickly.”
Bhalla had reported on Friday that the mile-square city had lost a man in his 80s and a man in his 90s since the previous update Wednesday (an update that also had included news of two seniors passing away). From May through December, coronavirus deaths had halted in Hoboken, but with reopenings and gatherings in fall, cases have ramped up again in New Jersey and across the country.
New Jersey had its highest new case total ever from this past Wednesday to Thursday, as well as a daily death toll of 123 people. This was the first time New Jersey topped 100 fatalities for three days in a row, since May, said Gov. Phil Murphy. Murphy said 3,488 people were hospitalized with the virus statewide, 668 on ICU, 469 on ventilators.
Police chief: ‘I am one who is allergic to several medications’
“I looked forward to this day to get my vaccination because it shows our officers and I have confidence in this vaccine, and it’s a step in the direction of protecting our community,” said Hoboken Police Chief Ken Ferrante. “I have done my personal research reading articles from top medical experts in our country regarding side effects, levels of protection created and allergic reactions as I am one who is allergic to several medications. The vast majority of medical experts have stated that the vaccine is safe and effective.”
He added, “I ask everyone to join me in doing the research, and consider the opinions of medical experts so they can become confident in taking this so we can save lives and get back to some normalcy in 2021.”
“Throughout this pandemic, firefighters have been exposed to COVID-19,” said Hoboken Fire Chief Brian Crimmins. “…Two days after receiving my first dosage, I’m pleased to report that I haven’t experienced any side effects or reactions. I’m also pleased to report that dozens of Hoboken firefighters have similarly volunteered to be vaccinated and serve as role models for the community.”
“From the beginning of this pandemic the Hoboken Police and Fire Departments have been working side by side with Riverside Medical Group to make sure the people of this community had access to testing and treatment for COVID-19,” said Dr. Raj Brahmbhatt, chief medical officer of Riverside Medical Group.
Riverside Medical Group has administered approximately 10,000 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at their offices in New Jersey since the start of the vaccination period, the city said.
Messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines, including the Moderna vaccine, are a new type of vaccine that doesn’t include the weakened virus, but rather, teaches human cells to make a protein that triggers the immune response (read more about that here).
There have been reports of some patients experiencing allergic reactions to the vaccine, and a New Jersey-trained doctor passed away last week after receiving it.
There are 29 people hospitalized in Hoboken who are being treated for the virus, Bhalla said Friday, including nine Hoboken residents.
Thirty-nine Hoboken residents have passed away from coronavirus since early March.
To find out where to get tested for coronavirus in Hoboken this week, click here.
Hoboken has 53,000 residents located in one square mile across the river from Manhattan.
Vaccination goals and phases
The state’s goal is to vaccinate 70 percent of the adult population – or 4.7 million adults – within six months.
If you are a healthcare worker or other person falling into the 1A category, you can visit http://www.hobokennj.gov/vaccine1A to register to receive the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine from Riverside.
Once registered, staff from Riverside Medical Group staff will call to schedule an appointment. You can also go to the countywide site, HCvax@hudsonregionalhealth.org.
To find out about each phase, click this state information sheet.
Gov. Phil Murphy reportedly said Tuesday that he’d like to start vaccinating the general public by Memorial Day.
Read more about the Hoboken covid vaccination site here. There is also a Hudson County site in Kearny, and county and local sites in Secaucus.
As of Sunday evening, 373,000 Americans had died of the virus. (You can see which states had the highest death toll in the past week on this CDC map.)
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Here are statewide coronavirus resources:
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