Hackensack Meridian Health on April 8 said it is collaborating with African American churches in New Jersey to open new vaccination sites for congregants and neighboring communities.
On Thursday, Hackensack Meridian Health will vaccinate congregants and members of the local community from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at St. Matthew A.M.E. Church at 336 Oakwood Ave. in Orange and on Friday, April 9 will offer vaccinations from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Trinity Temple, 35 Hillside Ave. in Newark.
“We are thrilled to expand the opportunity to offer this vital protection in the community and make vaccination as convenient as possible,’’ said Nurse Regina Foley, senior vice president integration/transformation for Hackensack Meridian Health. “We are working with many other congregations in New Jersey and plan to expand this winning strategy in coming weeks.’’
Vaccines will be announced at other locations next week as the network reaches 400,000 vaccines distributed throughout the state this weekend. Appointments are necessary and the vaccines are being provided at no cost to individuals.
“The best way to defeat this pandemic is to have as many people vaccinated as possible, especially as variants are contributing to an increase in cases,’’ said Robert Garrett, chief executive officer of Hackensack Meridian Health. “We are proud to collaborate with New Jersey’s African-American clergy to expand our vaccination efforts and we continue to remind the public that the vaccines are also highly effective against COVID-19 variants.’’
A recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that Black life expectancy has fallen 2.7 years from pre-pandemic levels, compared with one year for the overall population—a stark reminder of the virus’ disproportionate impact on Black Americans.
“I was very hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccine,” said the Reverend Joseph Thelusca at Mount Olivet Seventh-day Adventist Church in Neptune. “But as I learned more about how safe it is, I decided to get the vaccine so I could be a role model for my family. If I were to get the vaccine, I know others would follow – and that is very important to me as an individual and for our community.”